Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Visit to Vito Emanuele's Couture Showroom, Preview of His Fall 2013 Collection + Exclusive Interview!

Vito Emanuele and me 

Vito Emanuele is a true definition of a couturier. I had a chance to visit his extraordinary showroom in New York where he makes original custom garments for private clients. 

I was so excited to meet Vito and his assistant, Nadya. I’ve visited quite a number of showrooms during my fashion career but none was as worldly as Vito’s. His showroom was decorated with ancient African artifacts that Vito has collected over the years.

As soon as I entered the room I felt like I was transported in to a classic couturier in Europe. Vito’s charming assistant Nadya greeted me and soon Vito came out to meet me. Vito was such a fascinating character. I felt like I could spend hours listening to his stories of his travels and descriptions of the art that he does in addition to designing. In fact, there was a mini art studio right inside the showroom which featured Vito’s stunning renditions of his muses, friends and customers. 

I was thrilled to find out that both Vito and Nadya also attended the Fashion Institute of Technology just as I have. Ironically, his showroom is located only a few blocks away from our alma mater. 

Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak, Tippi Hedren, Eva Marie Saint... icons of style and elegance paired with the artistic genius of Hitchcock is the reason Vito Emanuele became a fashion designer. He’s an artist whose life interest is the pursuit of beauty. Vito Emanuele began a creative career as a display designer, creating windows and interiors for New York’s premier stores. He segued into fashion as a design assistant at Halston. While working directly with Halston on new designs he learned the fine art and discipline of couture. Vito’s next move would be to the house of Perry Ellis, working as a member of the famed design team that created modern classic sportswear. Vito launched the Vito Emanuele Collection in the early 1990’s, merging the classical trainings of Halston Couture with the sportswear principles of Perry Ellis. His first collection consisted of elegant evening wear, debuting at Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys in New York, as well as specialty stores around the country. Vito further expanded the collection with sportswear pieces, amassing a clientele that includes famed socialites, celebrities, and movie stars. Currently Vito is combining classic elegance with modern luxury, which lends timelessness to his collections that range from casual, suiting, cocktail, evening and outerwear

Next, I was shown Vito’s lovely new Fall 2013 collection for both women and men. As a couturier Vito customizes each look to fit the tastes of his clients for precise fit and color variations. 

Typical clients include royals, celebrities, dignitaries and socialites. His new collection was very much in line with his elegant old Hollywood style paired with the artistic genius of Hitchcock aesthetic.

It was fascinating to interview Vito about his life as a couture designer. 

1.  You’re one of the most talented and successful fashion designers. What made you decide that fashion was what you wanted to do?

Vito Emanuele: Fashion is in my blood.  I come from 3 generations of fashion industry workers. Hollywood and the Hitchcock era when women were stylish and elegant was the reason I decided to be a fashion designer.  I wanted to dress women like Tippi Hedren, Grace Kelly, Eva Maire Saint, and Audrey Hepburn.  I completely believe that clothes really do make the man/woman. Your appearance is who you are, why not be the very best version of yourself.

2.  What is the key to making a successful couture garment?

Vito Emanuele: Fabric. All fashion starts with great fabric. Style and cut, plus the careful hands on attention to detail are the elements that distinguish true couture.

3.  What was your inspiration for your new Fall 2013 collection?

Vito Emanuele: All my collections begin with fabric. Usually a beautiful piece of fabric is what dictates the color palette and silhouettes for each collection. This collection includes a beautiful ultra suede in camel, a luxurious alpaca also in camel, plus my favorite flannels and silks.

4.  What fabrics did you use for your collection?

Vito Emanuele: I always use the same fabric resources, because they are the very best in the world: Loro Piana, Dormeuil, Holland & Sherry, Solstiss for their beading and lace, and Clerici Tessuto for the most beautiful silks.

5.  I love that you incorporate silk as the lining into almost every garment. Tell me more about that?

Vito Emanuele: The silk lining feels wonderful against the body, as well as complementing the outer fabrics. The silk lining is one of the luxury details that my clients really appreciate. This detail also separates me from my contemporaries, who skip this obvious step by using acetate/poly, yet still charge “designer” prices.

6. In addition to being a designer, you’re also an artist. Are your clients your muses?     

Vito Emanuele: Most definitely. Elegant women are always my inspiration.

7. Your showroom is decorated with such interesting African artifacts. What are some of your favorite pieces? 

Vito Emanuele: I’ve been collecting African art for some time. I particularly like the connection that African art has to modern art, as used by Picasso and Modigliani at the turn of the century.  My favorite pieces are from the west coast of Africa, in particular from the Fang tribe. The large authentic Fang Ceremonial Mask is my favorite piece, because of it’s beauty and rarity.

8.  Where can we find your collection?

Vito Emanuele: My Collection is available exclusively at my atelier.

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