Internal nature: interview with jewelry designer Caterina Mariani
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Internal nature: interview with jewelry designer Caterina Mariani

The Florentine is publishing this series of interviews on the occasion of Vogue Fashion’s Night Out on September 17, 2015.   Just as a butterfly grows from the caterpillar’s cocoon, Caterina Mariani has transformed from a young Florentine Polimoda student into a worldwide known jewelry and

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Thu 10 Sep 2015 12:00 AM

The Florentine is publishing this series of interviews on the occasion of Vogue Fashion’s Night Out on September 17, 2015.

 

Just as a butterfly grows from the caterpillar’s cocoon, Caterina Mariani has transformed from a young Florentine Polimoda student into a worldwide known jewelry and accessory designer. Since 2004, she has been creating numerous collections under the label Caterina Mariani Bijoux. She constructs her work with materials such as metal, Swarovski crystals, enameled chains, glass and plastic. Mariani uses fresh bright colors to embody her connection to nature. For a noticeably petite woman she has certainly made her presence clear in the world of fashion. Internationally viewed magazines like Elle and Vogue Accessories have publicized her pieces. Mariani’s enthusiasm illustrates her love for work in a demanding but rewarding environment. I met with her to discuss her new collection.

 

Zoe Kaufman: What is your connection to Florence?

Caterina Mariani: I was born, raised and still reside in Florence. I have an artisanal connection to Florence. I believe that there’s a strong connection between all craftspeople and Florence.

 

ZK: To what level would you agree that Florence is a fashion city?

CM: I think that Florence could be a fashion city, but it isn’t right now. As of now, the structure for being a fashion city is all in Milan; there are the press offices and the large-scale business organization that Florence lacks. I do feel that fashion was born in Florence, for here we had the first famous Italian fashion show in the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti in the early ‘50s during a time when fashion was coming back to life. But for now, unfortunately, Florence cannot be a main fashion city as it should be; everything that could make that happen remains outside of this city.

 

ZK: What inspired you to enter the world of fashion jewelry and accessories?

CM: I was born with the technique and ability to create jewelry. Since I was little I always had a passion for designing pieces. I feel that all these ideas of what to create come naturally to me, so I knew that I had to follow what I was passionate about.

 

ZK: Each collection—even each piece—seems to have a specific theme. How do you come up with each one?

CM: For me each theme continually comes from nature and the seasons. For example, for the fall/winter collections I take inspiration from leaves, trees, particular flowers which blossom during that period of the year, or special events and festivities. Then for the spring/summer collection I find inspiration in flowers, animals or special products made during that time. Once these inspirations are collected, I elaborate on all the ideas and choose the colors, until I finally make my pieces. Nature is definitely my main source of inspiration as it’s so vast and always changing.

 

ZK: I personally like your use of pendant stones. Is this a favorite material of yours?

CM: Not really, but thanks. Even if I use an abundance of crystals, stones and lots of other materials, my favorite material is actually brass, which in fact appears in almost all my pieces.

 

ZK: What can followers expect to see in your next collection?

CM: I’d like people to be excited and surprised with every new collection. I try to be unique each time with the jewels I use. They can expect something new and different; that’s my goal.

 

ZK: I see that your pieces were featured in important fashion magazines, like Vogue Accessory and Elle. What is your greatest accomplishment so far?

CM: My biggest accomplishment is when people appreciate my work and follow my designs. I feel happy inside when these admirers or customers are satisfied with my work. Their satisfaction brings me satisfaction. Each time someone is pleased with my creations, I feel I accomplished the biggest goal.

 

About Fashion in Florence

In May-June 2015 ISI (International Studies Institute of Florence) offered an innovative class in Fashion Communication for non-specialized students in design. Emphasis was on analysis of leading fashion media critics, commentators, bloggers and influencers. Students had the opportunity to visit one day of Pitti Uomo #88 at the Fortezza da Basso and write their reports and blogs including one-on-one interviews with leading young figures in Fashion in Florence. Professor Emeritus Mark Bernheim headed the team, which included fashion commentator and assistant Alessandro Masetti, and his colleagues. The Institute plans to offer this course again in 2016.

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