Martina’s thesis project was to rediscover the crafts in Lombardia, the idea of forgotten trades, wicker baskets made by the rough hands of Po valley women or tapestries woven for the palaces of the Visconti or Gonzaga families. Behind each of these objects there’s a worker who is also an artist, whether they’re called carpenter, restorer, turner or painter. Their uniforms are the project’s point of departure, while poor fabrics like linen or denim are the main fabrics, which braiding, embroidery and other manual processes transform into living, contemporary matter, thus re-introducing us to an age-old tradition.
I designed two of the eight outfits in my Handcraft collection using zips as the key feature. In the first outfit in particular, I made a tailored bomber with destructured shoulders consisting entirely of interlaced zips following the weave of the “cloth”. 150 metres of zips went into the making of this garment. The basic idea was to reinterpret the manipulation of textiles that characterizes my collection by using zips, and by turning this accessory into the main part of the garment. The colours I chose echo the tones of the denim fabric used in the bomber’s sleeves and more in general in the other items in the collection. In the second garment too I used mainly zips to give form to the rigid bustier that hugs the shape of the body. Using zips made this garment special, high impact. The colours for this garment reprise those of the linen which was cut and worked in the other outfits as if it were knitwear. The interlacing of these zips looks like plain knit revisited in a modern key. The idea underpinning the development of these two outfits came, once again, from the craft world, which defines me as a designer, and the use of simple materials. By manipulating these apparently simple materials it’s possible to create a special texture that makes every garment one of a kind.