Vancouver Fashion Week SS19 - Interview With Fashion Designer Elena Pignata of Ombradifoglia and Elena Pignata Bridal

Runway images by Simon Lau 

Designer image from Website
Please Share a bit about your journey to embrace Fashion Design as a career.

I began my fashion career, just after graduating from the Feller Institute of Design and Fashion. I won the Fashion Grand Prix Aware and was invited to show my collection at Tokyo's Fashion Week.  I was only 18.  Initially I’d like to be an architect as I thought fashion was  not my path. My family encouraged me to study fashion, and they always supported  me a lot.

How did you learn your skills?

I graduated from the Feller Institute of Design and Fashion in 2000. They offered great education and training that covered from all aspects of the industry from research, to illustration, to making models and tailoring. First I worked 6 years as designer with several important Italian brands. Then in 2006 I launched my own brand - Ombradifoglia. Then in 2015, I launched a second label -  “Elena Pignata” - for wedding and ceremony dresses. I personally create all the items of both collections in my studio here in Turin, Italy, We take care of all the stages of the collections, from the research and style, prototyping and production in house.

What comes easiest for you as a designer? What is hardest?

Being a fashion designer is complex work. You must be up-to-date, tenacious and have a mind that is always fresh in order to receive new ideas. Certainly it is difficult to maintain on a daily basis because sometimes, especially in some periods of the year, there is no time to devote to research. But I have to say that there isn't anything that scare me. I am very passionate about my work, so the difficulties are parts of the creative phase!

Where do you find inspiration for new collections? How important is colour to your design process?

Inspiration can be found everywhere - in a song, in a place or in a museum. It is a feeling that in a particular moment suggests something to you, that inspires you precisely. The colors are very important because they define the "mood" of the collection. And the way you choose to mix them defines a precise period, thus giving the collection itself modernity.

Readers would love to know more about the current collection you showed at Vancouver Fashion Week.

The inspiration for this collection came from a combination of fabrics and photos of African women.
Going into deep in this topic, I came across the Sapeurs. These African dandies mix the tradition of their fabrics and colours with that of another culture,the cuts and clean lines of English blazers. I decided to give a kind of personal interpretation to this style. I combined materials with different fantasies, apparently all disconnected from each other, which together defined the Sapeurs style.

Do you have a favourite look in this collection?

Yes! One of the last outfits of the runway - a check silk taffeta top, multi color ottoman vest and cotton pants - is absolutely my favorite!

Where can readers purchase your designs?

At the moment unfortunately only in Italy or in Kiev. However, they can send us an email letting us know the dress they want. Then we can make it and sent it directly to their home!

What's next for you as a designer and your brand?

A few weeks ago we presented the fall/winter collection in the fashion show. Then February 19 we will be present it again at the White in Milan, during Italian Fashion Week.

What advice to you have for young fashion artists just starting out?

"Being a fashion designer is not a good time. You have to be tough."

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