The Italian way: Ermanno Scervino on giving traditional tailoring a technological reboot
Thinking outside the box
It's almost like Italians are born with an innate talent to create fashion. We'd go as far as to declare them as one of the most stylish nations in the world. Beyond the fact that Italians can throw on the simplest of pieces and create a winning ensemble, the crafstmanship of the design is what makes Italian fashion so luxury. Here we speak with a staple of luxury fashion, Ermanno Scervino about the need for preserving traditional tailoring but with updated methods.
What made you want to become a fashion designer?
I've always had the ambition to become a designer. I used to observe the clothes worn by the people around me and thought about ways to change them. At 18, I started my fashion apprenticeship when I moved to Paris, and later I started to collaborate with the greatest masters of Italian fashion and luxury, where I learned how to work with the finest materials. At the end of the 1990s, I created my own brand with my business partner Toni Scervino. Today we do womenswear, menswear and have junior collections.
Your atelier is based in Tuscany. What's that like?
We are in the middle of the Chianti Hills, so we have the privilege of being immersed in a peaceful and inspirational environment. In fact, the flower motifs from my last collection used for prints and refined embroideries came directly from my garden here in Tuscany.
What have you done for your women's S/S 2019 collection?
I've used technological innovation for traditional tailoring. That is the reason why I called the collection 'Futuristic Retro'. I looked at the past in search for garment history and then took all of that and applied futuristic manufacturing to it. Leather, for example, is soft as silk and therefore used for shirts, too. Mannish jackets are oversized, dresses, outerwear and trousers have an overdyed effect, which is very modern. The great difference with my previous collections is that the style codes are more fluid, which is the reason why there were also menswear looks on the catwalk. The codes have become interchangeable.
Who is the Ermanno Scervino woman?
A free, strong, emancipated and independent woman, who likes to mix mannish and ultra-feminine items to create her own, personal style.
How does that correspond to the Middle Eastern woman?
I think that women from the Middle East have an innate femininity about them and are always looking for uniqueness, which is similar to my Italian customers. They are both demanding in terms of quality and attention to detail. This is exactly what we offer with our 100% made-in-Italy pieces, created with the most modern tailoring techniques.
How do you keep your ideas and creative dialogue fresh?
I catch inspiration from everywhere I look. I can be hit by a movie, by a book, or by something else. Having the privilege of living and working in a city full of art, it can be from the lines of a sculpture as well or by some stained-glass windows. Moving my ideas into materials, colours and shapes is then the most complex part.
What do you think of 'see now buy now'?
I don't feel the concept is very aligned with my brand. My garments, given the craftsmanship necessary for their creation, take time and I'm not going to affect the quality trying to reduce the months needed between the catwalk and the arrival of clothes in stores.
And finally, what are your next steps for the brand?
We want to continue our expansion path. Over the years we gained a strong international position, not only through the opening of new boutiques, but also improving our online sales. Our aim is to be constantly closer to our customers. On the stylistic side, I want to continue my work on innovations in tailoring to offer high quality and modern products.
Now, see how Fendi's Serge Brunschwig has fun with fashion.