Since Chanel redeemed the colour black in the twenties, turning its meaning from mourning to elegance, black has become a constant in fashion. My personal penchant for dressing always in black is partly an homage to this century-old tradition and partly an easy escape from the care that colours need in order to be matched properly. One that is not afraid when using colours is the Florentine designer Sofia Sizzi, founder of the New York-based brand Giulietta.
The question and meaning of colours is as old as human civilisation and fashion has often found the best way to learn the lesson of painters, sometimes with direct quotations, sometimes in an unconscious yet effective way, and in other cases inventing new shades. Jeanne Lanvin, a master in the use of colours, is often associated with at least two particular hues: a very intense blue, directly inspired by the skies in Beato Angelico’s frescos, and an extremely elegant dark green that she “stole” from Velasquez’s paintings. During the same period Elsa Schiaparelli invented a colour doomed to great fortune, the shocking pink.
The tones that Sizzi uses in her collections seem closer to the dull and chic colours used by Leonardo Da Vinci in his paintings. Da Vinci did not believe in the idea of perspective as defined by many lines converging in a single point, but he believed that the best way to create the sense of distance was through the use of colours. Distant objects tend to look dull and more blue. This technique is called aerial perspective and it explains in part the constant use of certain shades by Leonardo and his successors. Sizzi’s link with Da Vinci is probably more unconscious, but she is clearly a product and a descendent of that particular idea of Tuscan elegance inaugurated by the great Leonardo. Black, dark green, burgundy and sepia are the colours of the AW2014 collection. They are block colours that can all be matched together so that the temptation is to buy more than one item. The aim, indeed, becomes to buy the mood, the style elegantly suggested by Giulietta.
In the creation of understatement and wearability Italians hardly go wrong and this is, in my opinion, what Americans like about Italian fashion. This is the element that creates a bridge of production and consumption between the two opposites sides of the Atlantic ocean. Sizzi’s idea to base her brand in New York has definitely been a good choice because her simple shades and sophisticated yet wearable silhouettes suit the American taste well.