At just twenty-five, Central St Martins print graduate, Flaminia Saccucci is turning heads with her debut collection of floral printed latex pieces. Inspired by her Italian roots and installation artist Paolo Canavari, Flaminia’s highly covetable garments juxtapose the femininity of flowers, with the masculinity of rubber tyres to great effect, earning her the prestigious L’Oréal Professionel Young Talent award. Following her graduation in June, Flaminia’s collection of clean cut floral designs have been snapped up by Browns and will be under the spotlight once more as part of their window display during London Fashion Week.
Hi Flaminia. Could you tell us where you’re from and where you studied?
I come from Rome and I’m 25. I moved to London when I was 19 to study fashion at Central St Martins. I never studied fashion or textiles in high school because in Italy it’s a very different system. My background is actually more in Philosophy and Greek. St Martins is an amazing creative environment. You have the freedom to do what you like, without being scared of peoples’ opinions or being judged.
You grew up in Rome. How has this influenced your work?
One of my greatest influences comes from my Italian background in the History of Art. When I was younger, I lived very close to the modern art gallery in Rome. Ever since I was a kid I used to go there every afternoon after school and I spent entire evenings just staring at the artwork.
Did you always want to study fashion?
I’ve always loved fashion. I have a great passion for fabrics, history and society and fashion combines all of that for me. I was always sketching on my classmates’ diaries at school, but it wasn’t until I found out about St Martins that it became a dream for me.
Can you describe your graduate collection for us?
My collection is made mainly out of printed latex. I was inspired by tyres after coming across the work of Italian artist Paolo Canavari. He makes these huge installations out of tyres & rubber. I wanted to create ‘wearable’ tyres so I used latex, which is more practical yet still has the feeling of rubber. My main focus was to use latex not in an expressly sexy way, but instead to make it more feminine. I wanted to create something as far away from the idea of ‘sexy’ as possible. The collection is very feminine but there’s also a dark side to it.
Do you have a favourite piece in the collection?
Talk us through the design process.
The latex is screen printed. It’s a really difficult process because it’s a material that shrinks a lot when you print it. It’s also difficult to match the colours as there are four colour separations. My biggest challenge was to find the right kind of ink that would stay on the rubber. It can be frustrating at times but I never give up once I have the idea in my head!
Is latex going to feature as a signature in your work?
I’d like to explore other materials. I don’t want to get pigeonholed with latex. I’d like to experiment with silk and leather, continuing to play with masculinity and femininity.
Tell us about your personal style? What are you wearing today?
My personal style is clean and minimal… and always black! I like to be comfortable and sharp. I’m wearing shoes by Alexander Wang, black skinny jeans from Cos and a long silk shirt I just bought from Liberty.
You’ve interned at Alberta Ferreti, Balmain and Viktor and Rolf. Can you tell us how these experiences have influenced your work?
My style is a bit of a mix of everyone. You’ve got the femininity and softness of Ferreti, the strength of Balmain, and the artistic influence of Viktor and Rolf. I took a bit from each of them because they were very different experiences.
Which other designers you admire?
Raf Simons at Jil Sander, Ricardo Tisci and Phoebe Philo.
What do you love/hate about working in fashion?
I love the beginning of a collection where you are really free to do research and you can just experiment loads with different fabrics and designs. The difficult part is narrowing it down!
Do you feel there’s a lot of pressure in the industry?
No, that’s the way fashion goes and you know what you’re getting yourself into. Fashion is different from art in that it’s much quicker.
What are you working on currently?
At the moment I’m designing a collection specifically for Browns, which will be on display during London Fashion Week. It’s an elaboration of my graduate collection but with a bit of jersey and leather thrown in! After that, we’ll see. I think it’s too early to start my own label just yet. I’ve had a really great offer from a French fashion house so I might be moving to Paris!
Last but not least, what advice would you give to young designers trying to break into the industry?
Never give up! Be really focused and love what you do