At only 22, Erika Caldesi and her work have already been the center attention. A recent graduate from Polimoda in Florence, her clothes are pure color, with an interesting use of materials (recycled plastic thread from brooms) and light and subtle silhouettes that emit strength and dynamism in all of her pieces.
At So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins we admire her work, and that of another young group, Gioconda & August Photography, who worked with Erika Caldesi on this occasion. We talked with her recently and this is what she had to say.
SO CATCHY!: Tell us Erika, why did you decide to study fashion?
ERIKA CALDESI: Because when I was just a little girl I created a dress for my Barbie and I thought about what material to use, candy paper, plastic or sugar candy. I think it has always been my passion.
SO CATCHY!: Tell us about your latest collection …
EC: The idea which my project is based on is recycling. Due to the research I have done in the sector, I discovered a material that, nowadays, is not usually used and recycled in the fashion business: plastic thread and fiber used for brooms. My aim was to create fabrics and accessories with this wire interweaving it, using traditional methods. The project was developed in my third school year, when I started to create my own materials, joining fabrics and thread. The idea was to create crinoline shapes, taking the forms of iconic pieces, for example shirts. As for the choice of colors, my inspiration was from an icon of the 20’s, Miss Loie Fuller. She used to dye her clothes with radium, a deadly substance, to give a fluorescence to those clothes and create a scenery effect. The use of radium gives those color an effect similar to the crystal pigment used to color the plastic thread I use. I choose to use huge quantities of tulle to have volume and to dye this to create lightness. The game of transparency with the silhouette, references the oriental influence of the 20’s. The outfit is completed with dedicated lingerie for young and playful audiences like my iconic miss Loie Fuller. My dream is to give a second life to used materials.
SC!: What was it like working with Gioconda & August photography?
EC: My experience with Gioconda and August was a beautiful experience because I saw for the first time how a real photographic service with professional people works.
SC!: What do you think of your time at Polimoda?
EC: The Polimoda experience has been hard, exciting, crazy and constructive. It made me grow up.
SC!: What are you doing now?
EC: In this moment I am working for a well-known fashion company in Prato, near Florence (Tuscany).
SC!: What’s your next step? Do you plan to create your own label anytime soon?
EC: My next step is to work for an important brand and learn the tricks of the trade. Later I’ll create my own brand.
SC!: Define your style in a few words.
EC: My style is very colorful because colors are important in my life. Any color broadcasts an emotion and I love using recycled materials because I really care about environmental problems.
SC!: Name a few women you would like to wear your pieces.
EC: I would love to have Florence Welch and Kristen Stewart wear my clothes, and of course people like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, but I would also like them to be worn by normal people, women and girls who are strong, independent and solar.
SC!: Fashion is…
EC: Fashion is first a business card, but not for me. For me fashion is art, it says who you are and who you would like to be.
SC!: The fashion world is in need of…
EC: More artistic sensibility and less marketing. I think that the possibility you give young designers to be known is beautiful, because fashion needs new talents and new ideas.
SC: Your favorite fashion designer…
EC: I love Cristobal Balenciaga.
SC!: Your favorite young fashion designer is…
EC: My favorite young designer is Iris Van Herpen; I love how she uses innovative material.
SC!: You cannot stop wearing…
EC: I cannot stop wearing jeans and sneakers.
SC!: Your inspiration comes from…
EC: My inspiration comes from anything, from history, films , music and nature.
SC!: A place to live….
EC: Barcelona, because there are solar people there and art and music everywhere.
Photos courtesy of GIOCONDA & AUGUST
Designs: Erika Caldesi
Make-up: Matilde Caprilli
Model: Anna Boyar
Translation and layout by Michael Padilla