Exclusive: In conversation with Elisabetta Franchi

Exclusive: In conversation with Elisabetta Franchi

Italian design with a purpose

Interview: Shannon Wylie

Image: Elisabetta Franchi

She's just as well known for her animal activism as she is her acute sense of fashion business acumen. Now in Dubai, Elisabetta Franchi speaks exclusively to Buro 24/7 Middle East...

E lisabetta Franchi is in the Middle East to present her Fall/Winter '16 collection, which was recently seen on the runway at Milan Fashion Week. In her Dubai showroom, Buro 24/7 Middle East's Editor in Chief, Shannon Wylie, sat down with the Italian designer to discuss activism, animals and her effervescent enthusiasm towards her eponymous brand...  

Welcome to Dubai!

Thank you. I'll be here to present my collection.

You showcased your Fall/Winter '16 collection during Milan Fashion Week in February, which Buro 24/7 Middle East was there to see. Tell us more about why you chose the theme of animals and the circus?

The collection was more of a message that I wanted to share with everybody in fashion. The important message is not only about animals but it is also about the circus, Cirque du Soleil — it's a big event. I wanted to show this through our t-shirts where animals are not clowns and that the circus is not fun for animals.

What are your favourite pieces from your Fall/Winter '16 collection?

Actually, there are a lot of pieces because this collection, I'm really in love with it. It is one of my best collections. The collection is very colourful. The first colours you see are red and blue, just like the circus, with a touch of gold. I wanted to catch the attention of the people.

Elisabetta Franchi Milan Fashion Week

Was there a specific reason why you chose the circus?

No. I was very focused on all of the details of the outfits from the circus; all of the stripes and all of the embroidery. So, it came without a reason, the creativity came from an idea and I wanted to combine the two messages - the beautiful scene of the circus and also the message of the animals.

What's your opinion on designers who have recently made the move to remove fur from their collection? 

The king, Giorgio Armani has removed fur from his collection. This is an important step, which is inline with the message I'm trying to send. Armani, Stella McCartney and Huge Boss, have all changed their collection to showcase that it is not cool to wear dead animals.

Tell us more about your work with animals...

For me, all of the animals are important. But I chose dogs because dogs constantly surround me. I have seven dogs so it's easier to post something about dogs rather than a fox or another animal. But I do love all animals! Everybody that knows me, knows that I love all the animals.

Elisabetta Franchi Milan Fashion Week

Speaking of which, what's one thing people don't know about you?

Behind the imagination of all the sparkle and the glamour, which most people think is my life, there is a lot of hard work. Sometimes it's difficult to complete it all. You need to focus all of your energy to your aim and your goal.

Talking about goals, what are your expansions plans worldwide?

To conquer the world (laughs)! Of course Italy is the main focus for the brand, we're known there, so now we're trying to expand around the world. Of course it will take time but we're going step by step into the right direction.

Any expansion plans in the Middle East?

In the last two years, we have opened a few stores. We already have a store in The Dubai Mall, in JBR, as well as in Saudi Arabia. We already have a store in Jeddah and one in Riyadh so we will continue to expand.

The Middle East is very important for us, the women are very feminine and they represent my idea 100 percent.

When will you start working on the next collection?

It's very difficult! I'm talking about the collection that is in stores now, which is Spring/Summer '16. Then we're talking about the Fall/Winter '16 collection that I just presented at Milan Fashion Week. Now I'll have to think about the Spring/Summer '17 upcoming collection. That's why it's very difficult for a creative person to talk about three collections and focus their attention on the next one.

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