The Florentine is publishing this series of interviews on the occasion of Vogue Fashion’s Night Out on September 17, 2015.
Nicola Indelicato is one of Florence’s new ‘it’ designers, setting his experiences in motion by visual representation and using his talent for modern and sleek design aimed at men and women alike. Nicola has travelled the world—he lived in Istanbul until recently—and his modern and unrestrained style is reflective of his daring personality. He attended the pop-up showroom Fresh in Florence, hosted by Bjork Store during Pitti Uomo #88 2015, which showcased seven emerging designers selected by Not Just a Label.
Ariel Shafir: What brought you back to Florence?
Nicola Indelicato: I was born and grew up here. Florence is my hometown—I had to go to Palazzo Vecchio to get my identity card, in the same place where Japanese tourists now go under umbrellas to get reprieve from the burning sun. I lived in Istanbul until last week, but after several years I needed to come back. I don’t know why; it’s something I cannot explain. Maybe to show what I learned in Istanbul. In my collections too, I use many references to the country where I’m living. I like to catch the mood of the place.
AS: Do you feel that Florence is a hub for the fashion industry?
NI: Definitely! Firenze is the capital of fashion. It is important to live here permanently—just as it’s important to go abroad—but, as you can see, I simply had to come back here to show my collection at Pitti.
AS: What are your current inspirations?
NI: ‘Trash,’ which in Turkish means to cut hair. Hair cutting is a sort of ritual in Turkey: barbers not only shorten the hair, but also massage the scalp and the face skin. I found an old postcard from the nineteenth century with a street full of barbers at work; you could recognize them because of the striped t-shirts they wore and because they were shaving clients directly on the streets.
I also take inspiration from the refugees on the border of Syria and Turkey; many wear a parka-raincoat in the same shape as the cape they use at a barber’s salon. Some of my clothes transform this item into a luxury one—the stripes I used are made of lambs’ wool because I didn’t like the sponge/towel used by the barbers.
My private life also provides me with inspiration. I keep a Tumblr diary where I collect an array of images; I’m really interested in how young people expressing themselves. Pornography is forbidden in Istanbul, but on Tumblr you can see everything you want, and this is like a symbol of freedom. In some of my garments I try to express this new sense of freedom and love, also reproducing the conversations between young lovers, who conceive romanticism through swear words.
AS: Do you design more for men or for women?
NI: My designs are ‘genderless,’ which is different from unisex. One can be sexy without gender being involved. Everything depends on how you express your body.
AS: Where do you see your designs and inspirations in the future?
NI: I can’t control myself. I want to be free, so there are no rules to follow. Maybe in three months I’ll be in Paris, in New York or in Africa. Wherever it will be, it will surely inspire my new designs.
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.