by Marlo Saalmink
Andrea has always been a profound thinker. A man that looks beneath the surface to construct his universe. It is meticulously crafted, altered and re-adjusted at the will of this discerning designer. His mind, often spread across time, place and senses, works around the clock, humming with industrious thoughts. His latest collection, was centered around a series of performances. First, he invited the ‘’in the know’’ to an illustrious alley way in Paris, where he calmly dressed a model, adding layer upon layer with patient diligence. Second, we observed the same individual in a trance of emotional movement, as he improvised a dance routine, in a minimalistic boutique window, downtown Florence, seeking to engage the audience. Together, these moments proved us that fashion needs such pauses, time to reflect, discuss and connect. I spoke to the man of the hour, Mr. ANDREA CAMMAROSANO, after his latest sensory release.
Andrea, lets get right into it. When it comes to collection references, I like that you juxtapose history, current events, literature and art. Have you always been prone to such sincere research?
As a designer, I am interested in current events but I do not want to be overly literal. And as much as I love narratives from the past, I do not wish to be historical. It comes natural to me to draw parallels and mix things together. Henceforth, I think I translate these stories in my clothes in a quite simple way, because I want them to remain approachable. Great stories and ideas become even stronger when people can receive them in a simple way; through details, or tailoring elements that you can add or remove. Indeed, I do put a lot of poetry in my work, but I also like that the final result is a garment. A piece which people can wear and interpret.
Lets speak of the Paris moment. You conducted a very intimate and beautiful presentation in an alleyway, slowly dressing and deconstructing a model’s silhouette. Could you tell me about your thinking here?
That performance was an interaction between me and a model; he would carry me different parts of garments and I would compose them together into a silhouette. The idea was to show the engineered tailoring that I apply to my clothes, which allows multiple possibilities – what I call “destruction and reconstruction”. In my eyes, it was a simple explanation of the tailoring and cuts in the collection – through gestures, and not through words, but narrated by seams, patterns and shapes. It was meant to be technical, but also poetical.
Now, in Florence, you went a step further, allowing the garments to move through the medium of dance, on the premises of Société Anonyme, how did this come along?
The performance was executed and choreographed by André Atangana, a young artist and choreographer, whom I met last summer in Paris. What I love about André is that he is sensual yet sophisticated, which is a quality I pursue in my clothing. His movements in the performance were reflecting this mix of poetry and reality, featuring military-like steps as well as expressive gestures. During the course of the performance he would slowly deconstruct his outfit to show a fully-dressed silhouette break down to the simplicity of a trouser and a t-shirt, adorned by decorative ribbons. Through this performance, I wanted to show a person interact with a whole range of clothing. Lastly, it was about showing how the rigid formality of a uniform and the freedom found in sensuality can co-exist in the same person.
When it comes to connecting fashion to an audience, I like that you choose these forms of expression, to underline a sense of touch and emotion. How would you depict the masculinity of your collections?
Masculinity is about courage and that is why I find touch and emotion to be particularly important in menswear. Being a robot is the opposite of masculine to me. There is practicality in menswear – I use for instance a lot of references to uniforms, workwear and military gear. Next to this, I reference soldiers a lot, but I remain most interested in the man behind the soldier, especially in the moment this man comes out and over-rules the robot. It is important to belong – to a community, an environment, a tribe – but clothing is about feeling and discovering oneself.
If we observe true meaning when developing garments, often brands simply produce to supply. Wastage simply to keep up. I like that you still have this artisanal approach towards crafting your pieces. Do you care to comment?
There are two words bother me a lot, “aspirational” and “luxury”. And what bugs me most is that so much of that “wastage” produced today, as you described, tends to be communicated under these terms. It shows how consumerism has lost touch with reality, and with words. This is part of a mind-numbing strategy, which serves to distract us from bigger issues – social, environmental etc. This very much bothers and worries me.
Andrea, I also wanted to ask you about how you would like the CAMMAROSANO universe develop in the coming years. What directions do you see coming your way and how will you anticipate?
As we develop each season, I very much believe in our message and I feel a lot of people are sensitive to it. At this time, I feel a growing energy around our brand and our clothes. Fashion is a fleeting reality; I want our message to stay stable and strong, as we also explore new strategies of selling, showcasing and distributing. Working with Andre’ on this performance is one of the examples, but we have several collaborations coming out soon. We are creating community around these clothes and ideas and this is the best thing one can hope for.
Lastly, it would be good for our readers to remain hungry. Could you lift the veil on your new upcoming winter collection a little? Especially on its contextual background…..
I mentioned the word “community” a few times, and it’s probably because it is also the theme of our next collection. Before moving to Florence, I lived in San Francisco, as you know, and I want to talk about that experience, which opened my eyes so much towards the world. For the next collection, there will be hints of the Grateful Dead, but also the Utopian Italian poets of the 1920s, and the uniforms and workwear that I love so much. It will be a political collection, but through the lens of poetry.