The next generation of Italian fashion
The woman I imagined is determined to dress with contrasts, she sees fashion as an intellectual game
In the midst of Milan Fashion Week, Say Who met with designer Arthur Arbesser backstage at his Spring/Summer 2019 show. About fifteen minutes before the show starts, Arbesser answered our questions in front of his collection’s moodboard. Recently appointed artistic director of the brand Fay, which belongs to the Italian group Tod’s, the designer launched his eponymous label independently in 2013 in Milan. Acknowledged as one of the most brilliant designers of his generation, his fashion shows are always long-awaited. The winner of the fashion contest Who is on next in Italy, he was also a finalist for the LVMH Prize in 2015, as well as being invited by Pitti Uomo as guest designer that same year.
You take part in the most important events of the Italian fashion industry, Pitti Uomo in Firenze and Milan Fashion Week every year. How do you feel about being part of it?
As a designer, it is a huge honor to be invited at Pitti, it represents the future of fashion. I am Milanese by heart, and it is pure joy to present my collections here.
Your show in Milan is long-awaited because your collections are always the fruit of research work. Your style is very recognizable and full of artistic and cultural references. What are your inspirations for this SS19 collection? Are you also referring to the Viennese tradition from the 20th century about the search for graphic shapes and fabrics, which defines your cultural background?
The conceptual theme of this collection is the simultaneous presentation of the finished product and the creative process it originates from, which allows to clarify the methods that turn ideas into objects. I like meticulous collections: on one side, the reference to calculations and to the perfect geometry that characterizes the graphic research of the Wiener Werkstätte; on the other side, the work of Fausto Melotti, an italian sculptor who carried out a reflection about the history of human beings and major principles of nature such as order, geometry, and harmony, as a cure to our struggles as humans.
You are an art enthusiast and it shows through your collections. How do you picture your eponymous brand and yourself as an artistic director in the a fashion industry that can sometimes appear chaotic?
It is true that the fashion industry is tough, and working as a designer is hard but so rewarding. My goal as a fashion designer is simple: I want to show the beauty in the world, sublimate women and create beautiful clothes in which they can feel strong and free. There is a contamination of fashion by the art world. As an artistic director and an art enthusiast, I feel like I have the responsibility to pass this heritage on through my collections and to highlight artists.
Three words to describe your SS19 collection?
Personal, liberated and sophisticated. The woman I imagined is determined to dress with contrasts, she sees fashion as an intellectual game through which she discovers herself and draws attention to herself. The clothes have a “sartorial” cut and rigorous lines at the same time, and are enhanced with sequins to create a sexy and glamourous silhouette.
Your career started in Vienna where you were born and raised, then you moved to Milan more than 10 years ago. Not to forget you graduated from the famous Central Saint Martins school. What is your relationship with France and Paris? What about “La Parisienne?”
Paris is magic and fascinating to me. The Parisian woman perfectly embodies the woman I imagine through my collections: strong, free and natural.
Interview: Delphine Souquet
Portrait: Sefora Delli Rocioli