Our endless exploration os talent is taking us places this week. Sometimes we feel a bit dizzy because of all this spinning around, but overall we can’t complain: fashion never fails to surprise and excite us.
Matteo Lamandini is probably one of the top five most humble people I’ve ever met β let alone fashion designers. Everything he does seems to come from a fairly deep and sometimes mysterious place within him, which occasionally emanates a wave of feral strength and brings him to accomplish great things. Among them, winning Designer for Tomorrow β competition hosted by the German company Peek & Cloppenburg and Vogue Germany β in 2014 and spending the last twelve months traveling the world in search of inspiration for his first collection. His early studies destined him to a future in banking, which he turned upside down by choosing to attend Instituto Marangoni in Milan instead. Funny enough, his main source of inspiration still is the bankers’ buttoned-up way of dressing, which he injects with his own desire to reinvent it, innovate it, add a hint of irony to it. Mentored by Tommy Hilfiger and supported by designers such as Massimo Giorgetti (MSGM), Matteo has rapidly gained a place among the unmissable ones-to-watch of his generation and – during the last Mercedes Benz Berlin Fashion Week – has finally released the fruits of this year’s wanderings. Tristesse Contemporaine is the name of his first collection and official debut as a fashion designer with his own brand, MATTEOLAMANDINI. Actions sometimes do speak much louder than words.
Matteo, describe your style in three words.
Formal, Ironic, essential.
We spoke for the first time over a year ago, right after your win at DfT. Tell us about how that experience changed your life.
Winning DfT was an extreme experience, which I now consider essential for my growth, both personal and professional. It gave me the chance to collaborate with extremely established designers, experiencing the environment they work in and witness their different approaches.
What have you been up to in the past months?
In the last few months I’ve been working at my won line β called MATTEOLAMANDINI β which will begin with FW16 and whose focus will be on menswear.
You’ve been mentored by Tommy Hilfigher. What would you say are the most important thingsΒ you’ve learned from him?
What I treasure the most about my collaboration with Tommy Hilfigher is the way I’ve been able to learn new working methods through him, which is very important. He also taught me how to incorporate sportswear within my design concept and my style.
Your previous collection β called New Zoot Suit β resulted from the creative combination of fabrics such as Tartan, Scozzesi and Finestrati. Tell us about how your creative process has evolved from back then.
Zoot Suit was for me the beginning of a whole journey. It was all about shapes, lines and volumes combines with a mix of tartan fabrics, which are the foundation of each of my collections, SS16 included.
For New Zoo Suit your inspiration were young American guys from the 60s, protesting against society through the way they dressed. Tell us about the inspiration for your latest collection: Tristesse Contemporaine.
It all started from me looking at today’s society and realising how many youngsters are no longer able to foresee anything positive about their future, which makes them unhappy. I’ve decided to ironise this idea by taking inspiration from kids: the only human being able to express happiness in any situation, along with their desire to live and play. I’ve chosen fabrics that reminded the playful life of a kid and a combination of lengths, sometimes very long, sometimes almost too short.
From American guys to American kids: where does your fascination with the US style evolution and its characteristics come from?
The US has a long story as the centre of an endless mixture of cultures and identities, which I’m very fascinated by. Every time I visited it, the country has given me strong feelings, which is probably why I feel so connected and inspired by it.
Tell us about the new techniques and materials you’ve experimented with in your latest collection.
I’ve tried to use fabrics that reminded me of kids’ lives, their games and desire to live and experience. The core fabric is a cotton and linen tweet with a tartan print, from which I moved toward irregularly striped fabrics whose pattern interrupted itself here and there and which instantly reminded me of the mistakes we all make and we must restart and move away from in order to grow.
Do you feel your style has evolved in any particular way in the past year?
I feel like my style has gained a certain degree of stability by now. I tend to keep the same concept of formality and revisit it through fabrics and volumes.
You showcased Tristesse Contemporaine in Berlin this year. How was coming back to the DfT runway once again?
It’s been an important and positive experience for me. I’ve felt very different emotions not being part of the competition anymore but showcasing my first real collection.
You’ve been traveling quite a lot in the past year. Tell us about the places you visited and how they inspired you.
I visited some truly wonderful places this year: first of all New York, where the inspiration came from. Then came Amsterdam, a great city that surprised me with its magic of landscapes and unique districts. Finally Berlin, enriched by its art in every corner, which communicated to me something more than the previous ones had done. I felt at home in Berlin and I still think that I would happily live there.
What would you define as the most exciting aspect of working in the fashion industry?
The best aspect of working in this industry is for me to realise that the message I wanted to put out there reached the audience loud and clear and it also makes people happy and excited about it, just as I am. Being understood, that’s the greatest satisfaction of it all.
What the most challenging?
For me personally the biggest challenge was to win DfT and collaborate with Tommy Hilfigher. But then again, doing it was worth all the effort.
If you could pick one city where to establish your brand, which one would it be?
As I mentioned before I would definitely enjoy living in Berlin, but I think the right city where to establish my brand is Milan.
Where do you see yourself in five-year time?
I see myself settling in Milan and hopefully my brand will be going toward the right direction by then.
All images courtesy of Matteo Lamandini.