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A Legacy in Lace

Q&A
A look fom the Ermanno Scervino Fall 2017 Runway collection.

Made in Italy covers all manner of creation. From hand-dyed leather to old-vine Barolo. But at Ermanno Scervino, the moniker is most associated with exquisite, handmade lace. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Florence, the luxury label specializes in ethereal, figure-flaunting creations in layers of diaphanous lace. While the glamorous designs are a dream floating down the runway, they’re even more awe-inspiring up close, showing the meticulous attention to detail that goes into handcrafting each piece of lace. Upholding a time-honored Italian tradition, Scervino and his team of 50 tailors painstakingly create one-of-a-kind varieties of the elegant fabric—a rarity in today’s see-now, buy-now fashion culture. Here, Scervino, the brand’s charismatic creative director, provides a peek behind his elaborate design process.

You are known for your intricate lace. Can you take us into the process of creating it?
My lace is unique, obtainable only thanks to a couture, handmade technique. The Tuscan savoir-faire allows me to create something new every season, such as the millefoglie lace, a plissé work so difficult that I almost gave up. It took months of tests and experiments before getting the desired result.

How did lace become a signature for your brand?
I’ve been working with lace since the very beginning. The area where my headquarters is located has been known since the beginning of the 20th century for the production of lace. All European nobles, including Queen Victoria, went there to create a trousseau. I decided to draw on this know-how to create something new and more advanced, that I find the apotheosis of femininity.

Approximately how many hours of work goes into creating one of your lace dresses?
It is a complex and very long process, consisting of at least five months of continuous experimentation. Each of my creations must be charismatic, have an energy that distinguishes it from any other and has to be obtained through a manual couture excellence that is possible only here in Italy.

What makes your workshop so unique?
Because turning my ideas into materials, colors and shapes is the most complex part of this work. We work with such precious materials, with such complex techniques. It’s necessary to know how to touch the fabrics, how to handle and combine them, because if you make a mistake, there is no turning back. My relationship with my tailors does not require words; we just exchange a look and know where to intervene and what to change. We are all in love with perfection.

How do you find such a talented team of tailors?
Fortunately, there are many girls who come out of the fashion schools and want to come to work in my atelier. In a global economic crisis, I hire. For us, it is very important to have young people working in the atelier, because they bring ideas, modernity and technological skills.

How does your Italian heritage play a role in your designs?
For me, it is fundamental. Made in Italy simply means the excellence of materials, cuts, design and know-how in manufacturing. It is necessary to protect the value of made in Italy, because it has cultural roots and tailoring skills of excellence that are timeless. However, we have to be careful not to fall into easy nostalgia. My will is to translate this excellence into modern language, combining the values of sartorial tradition with glamour.

 

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