One of our current up-and-coming designer favorites is the young Italian talent, Ludovico Loffreda. We haven't been the only ones to take notice: Loffreda was featured on Italian Vogue's New Talents page and was awarded the Next Generation Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (the prize is sponsored by the Italian Government). I had an opportunity to delve more deeply into Loffreda's work and find out — in his own words — what makes him tick.
Today Ludovico may be a design artist in the true sense of the word, but many of us can probably relate to his beginnings. He loved to draw from a young age, but he didn't discover a personal interest in fashion design until high school, after watching a TV documentary. He started sketched on his own, bought design books and (like so many with creative inclinations) struggled to overcome his father's skepticism. Luckily, he had his mother's support. With her blessing and encouragement, Loffreda became a student at the European Institute for Design and the rest is (recent) history.
When you see the designer's work, it's clear that his aesthetic is a mix of visual, cultural and intellectual references. From farther away, the silhouettes are clean, pristine and chic. His patterns are as uniform as his lines. Touches of red and blue mixed with white (are they dots or checks?) can be seen among darker shades of chocolate brown, black and other earth tones. Upon closer inspection, you'll see the leitmotif pattern in his most recent spring collection is actually the repetition of his face in miniature, by the thousands.
Inspired by an homage to Warholian pop art and the idea that even our faces, which we see in a such a subjective, personal way, can be reduced to their elemental proportions and shapes — they can also form patterns. He says: "I truly believe that today, experimenting with materials is the key to innovation in a market already oversaturated with design ideas." And experiment he does. He's committed to using the highest quality leather, crocodile and fur, but isn't afraid to use sewing and construction techniques that blur the lines of conventionality. Hand-picked and hand-painted materials are brought to exclusive mills and tanneries to be specially treated, like specially coated nylon-organza. Or hole-punched leather, made of two fabrics blended so they become one. Very hands-on, Ludovico is involved in every aspect of his collection — from sketching to fabric treatment to construction.
Also fond of retro-minimalist streetwear, Loffreda likes to create a "subtle femininity," imagining his designs foregrounded in urban structures. His ideal client? "A dynamic, chic woman, who could, paradoxically, go to the office on a skateboard wearing a cashmere coat. I like women with an innate elegance, but also an intellectual aura. The images I get inspired from are sometimes realistic and sometimes fictional, and it doesn't matter."
For him, "fashion is something shared by all individuals, giving them freedom of expression, making them iconic, representing them." We couldn't agree more and so put Ludovcio Loffreda on our radar as a designer to watch. Perhaps he should be on yours, too.
Until next Milan Fashion Week, feel free to view his most recent sartorial offerings below.