Mirella Piria: Insta-ready fur!Winner of the historic Concorso Nazionale Professione Moda Giovani Stilisti RMI, young fashion designers’ competition in the fur category, and a creative talent who’s already admired at TheOneMilano, in the N1 area, Cagliari-born Mirella Piria tells us all about her vision of fashion and the original concepts behind the fur garments in her capsule collection
Where did you study and how did the fur project come about?
I did a three-year Fashion Design course at IED in Milan, which gave me the necessary foundations to embark on a fashion career. One of the years included a closed number, brief but very in-depth course on furs. After this, I had the good fortune of being selected by IED to create one of the designs I proposed, as well as being a finalist in the Altaroma 2017 (for which I created 6 fur designs). This involved a one-week workshop, a fashion show of the finalists’ clothes in the 5 different categories: clothing, fur, underwear, beachwear and accessories. I entered a series of paper patterns: ribbed wool cuffs, waistbands and necks that I created in the IED laboratory and my professor, Paolo Consonni, supported me with the creation of the furs. Rome was an incredible experience. I met both emerging designers like myself and established designers, and I was offered several internships. At the end of the fashion show I was proclaimed joint-winner, alongside Federica Polli, in the fur category. In my case, I won “for the lucidity in individualising the end client and ability to interpret fur in a young key”, which was really satisfying.
What’s the concept behind your collection?
For the fur creations, I took the idea from my degree paper, ‘Le Gianne’, inspired by a Sardinian myth about fairies/witches called ‘Janas’. I decided to reinterpret these creatures in a contemporary key, starting from the stereotype of “the most popular girls at school”, which led on to telling the story of the young girls of today, who are obsessed with social media, which they use as a means to show off their lives. I approached this theme very ironically, presenting an exaggerated female image of the insta-star’, with lots of fake eyelashes and nails, blonde hair extensions, and sartorial details like padding to represent lips and breasts.
How would you describe your aesthetic vision?
My tastes have inevitably developed during my studies, culminating in my end-of-year thesis, which truly represents who I am. My vison could be defined as the ‘opposite’ of minimal, with a tendency to layer and add different applications and tailoring techniques. I love the contrasts that you can obtain my mixing different colours and materials. The clothes I created for the fashion show propose an eccentric femininity. I wanted to amaze and impress people. Obviously, each technique and outfit can be made into a more easy-to-wear and commercial design.
My target is a young woman, but it all really depends on the personal aesthetic tastes and personality of the wearer. I don’t really put age limitations on my ideal buyer.
In this era of fast fashion and mass production, what does uniqueness mean for you?
For me, the search for originality is essential. I don’t like the idea that I’m creating something that’s already been done before. There’s always an evolution and new pathways to explore. I look for something different, starting from unusual concepts and elements, and then I try to translate them into an item of clothing.
The same goes for my thesis, which I created as if it was a blog. The fashion shoot for my collection was based on the concept of social networks, so I made it look like Instagram, using selfies and photos with poses like those of a fashion blogger. I then elaborated the images, adding hashtags, emoticons and filters.
Does artisanal craftmanship play an important role in your creations?
Yes, it’s fundamental. My clothes are all created by hand, starting from the model making and fabric cutting stages, right the way through to the tailoring process. Luckily, even though I was practically starting from scratch, IED gives you all the foundations you need. I always did well at model making, I learnt to sew quickly, and I believe that precision and attention to detail have given me a huge advantage. I also really love manual work. In fact, my first collection features lots of applications and techniques, like padding, which came from an interesting course in textile manipulation that I did at IED.
What projects have you got for the future? Are there any collaborations or commitments on the horizon?
I graduated on 13th of December 2017. On 2 January I’d already signed my first work contract with Marni, working for the Style Office, where I started the next day. At The One Milano fur and clothing exhibition in February, I’m showcasing my creations on a themed ‘Le Gianne’ area. Furthermore, the Altaroma competition allows you to go on a week’s internship in the fur sector in Copenhagen, which I’ll be taking up very soon.
Besides fashion, what other interests do you have?
I love to travel and discover new cultures and foods, which is always a great source of inspiration.