Stefano Chiassai, fashion designer and creative consultant, together with his daughter Corinna, has recently published the book Blue Tailoring, which shows how denim, a key material for casual apparel, can transform itself into a basis for smart menswear.
Chiassai explained to The SPIN OFF the origins of the book and his vision of modern fashion.
Most of us consider denim as the fabric for classic five-pockets mostly connected with workwear and casualwear. In this project I chose to interpret it as part of the tailoring and luxury world, and as a fabric to be worn for every day and night occasion, including a work appointment, an evening or some other special occasion. I therefore designed a complete collection focused on tailoring that could set a new direction in denim.
I did this book with the help of my daughter, Corinna Chiassai, who assisted me and wrote some essays for it. With her, I had already written other books–Ritmoevotivo (Emotional Rhythm), we published in 2018, and Caosordinato (Ordered Chaos), both dedicate to our archive, The Cube.
We own this archive that counts 15,000 apparel pieces, mostly menswear, I have been working on it for a long time. Since 1980 until today I collected pieces in flea markets, stores and incredible places all over the world, all items that could offer stimuli for my work and my collections.
What is it offering exactly?
Our archive is the right place for designers, fabric insiders, or other fashion experts looking for inspiration. It also hosts a huge archive of beautiful fabrics and knitted samples, along with books and magazines from the ’80s until today. It also hosts a photographic set. It is based where I live, in San Giovanni Valdarno. People can work inside it and rent it for a day or for some hours only, but they can also rent pieces.
The archive pieces are divided according to color and to the worth of the pieces it hosts. Some of them are handcrafted and full of details and can provide lots of inspiration. We also host new pieces and prototypes. Soon it will also go online, and we will sell some pieces–old and purposely newly created ones–to be sold through this platform.
I have been menswear designer for Fendi for the last 12 years. I have entered the luxury market and that made me grow a lot. Speaking about luxury, one might think of very expensive fabrics and similar things. Luxury, instead, is the expression of a whole lifestyle. A luxury piece of clothing, for instance, originates from a deep thought expressing how that piece has to be truly unique, full of details and particular elements full of sense. It is a precious object, almost like a piece of furniture which is very carefully made, a precious object whose worth remains the same or grows with the passing of time. These pieces are almost eternal and potentially will never be thrown away.
In our studio we have been very careful about this for a long time. Now everybody is more conscious about the fact we have to go in that direction. All the pieces we will offer in our digital platform, for instance, will be characterized by sustainability as we want to use eco-friendly material only, including biodegradable fabrics that degrade when put in the soil…
It will take some time as we cannot change the value chain from one day to the other, but there is great attention for it, especially here in Italy among fabric manufacturers and laundries, but also among the young who strongly believe in the importance of this aspect… In my studio 14 people are working for me, six of them are under thirty and are very keen about it.
The young think differently. If they like something, they save some money and decide they buy that. Our market is filled with too many products, but we need great products that are desirable. By buying beautiful pieces you don’t throw them away but might recycle, for instance, by giving them as a present.
Also, an archive like mine can help recycling. If old pieces remain in my archive they don’t pollute and are still useful as they can provide inspiration for a new collection.
Today there is no longer one trend only, but great freedom to change, deconstruct, make mixes that one would have never done in the past. I like to work at pieces that give emotion, and have something to say. By working with a high-level brand we are setting new directions, always experimenting, looking for new cuts and evolutions. We don’t preclude ourselves anything. Good taste is certainly a key aspect in everything we do, even if we work with a brand with its own identity, its own story to tell, a past that comes back and that can be reinvented for the present, as also tradition has its own value.