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Strokes from the heart of creators

Five great couturiers received us at their abode in Paris, Rome and Milan, and shared their favourite item from their Spring-Summer 2012 collections, as well as theinspiration for the collection. Five ways to capture, up close and personal, the very essence of style for the coming season. Styled by Sylvie Halic. Photographs by Patrick Swirc
None | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2012 06:22 PM IST

Frida Giannini For Gucci

Why is this your favourite piece from the Spring-Summer 2012 collection?
It’s difficult to have favourite looks, because at the end of the creative process, there isn’t a single piece that I don’t love. But this dress, I’ve already brought it to Paris last October, when I received the Marie Claire Prix D’Excellence Award, so...

Broadly speaking, what was your inspiration?
The Art Deco era, because it is one of my favourite periods, rich in the visual arts, literature and architecture.

For you, who is a woman of style?
She’s a woman who interprets fashion in her own personal way, and the look she adopts hardly matters.

Silk georgette dress embroidered with black oblong pearls and gold, with 3D-effect embroidered sleeves, Gucci

Dolce & Gabbana

Why is this your favourite piece from your Spring-Summer 2012 collection?
Stefano Gabbana: The corset has always been one of the great symbols of Dolce & Gabbana. Domenico Dolce: And this corset, like everything that goes into the show finalé, is more than a corset: it is a jewel. The stones have been sewn in by hand, and this artisanal technique shows the importance that we give to knowhow while making a collection...

SG: ...even while remaining close to the DNA of our brand. It is this sensuality that shapes our fashion.

What was your inspiration?
SG: Feelings of joy. Everything – from the prints on the dresses to the show decor – send out positive vibes, happiness, the wish to enjoy oneself and sink one’s teeth into life.

DD: We called the collection ‘Pane, amore e... (Bread, Love and…)’, paying homage to the film by Dino Risi and to the scene in which Sophia Loren dances the mambo.

For you, who is a woman of style?
SG: Style knows neither frontiers nor rules. It has, in essence, nothing to do with the fact of wearing a particular item of clothing rather than another.

DD: It is the attitude of the wearer, her being. That can’t be learnt. You either have it or you don’t.

Bianca Balti/Brave Model wears a corset dressed embroidered with cystals and multicoloured stones and drop earrings in multicoloured crystals, Dolce & Gabbana. Hair styling: Antonello Rossello/Glow Artists. Makeup: Grazia Riverditi/Glow Artists, with

Jean Paul Gaultier

Why is this your favourite piece from your Spring-Summer 2012 collection?
This bustier dress in leather with tattoos is, by itself, the synthesis of this collection, which consecrates a certain idea of nudity. I made a collection on the tattoos 20 years ago, and I’ve taken up this theme again today, because who doesn’t wear a tattoo today? It’s about ephemeral and chic tattoos. The trench, I thought of it as an accessory: you can wear it next to your skin.

Broadly speaking, what was your inspiration?
I took up my classics again, things I love – nautical, trench, the malefemale mix, and I tweaked them. These are the little distinctive signs of rebellion of a certain age, although ours is more conformist. I wanted to blow up the codes of elegance, turn chic tattoos and piercings into couture.

For you, who is a woman of style?
She is a woman who does not let anyone impose diktats on her. Even if she has strong tastes, it is her personality one notices. A woman who has style knows herself, an assurance that she does not disguise. She uses fashion in her own way.

Thana Arithana Kuhnen/Nathalie Agency wears a trench in nautical silk taffeta, a bustier dress in nude leather with tattoo effect and stockings, Jean Paul Gaultier. Hair styling: Hugo Raiah/ Atelier 68. Makeup: Marie Duhart/ Atelier 68

Silvia Fendi

Why is this your favourite piece from your Spring-Summer 2012 collection?
The Peekaboo bag embodies a concentration of creativity, of ‘handmade’ and timelessness. It also represents perhaps the woman’s soul, for often the most precious part is found hidden inside.

What was your inspiration?
The inspiration for the collection mainly comes from Italian architecture and design of the ’50s, whose ambassadors I adore, like Gio Ponti and Ico Parisi. Moreover, I
imagine the Fendi woman this summer as a mathematics teacher or a scientist, with a tough side.Totally unconventional, startling and an eccentric one!

For you, who is a woman of style?
I am convinced that style is a personal matter, and is more than anything else, not a homologous concept. A woman having style definitely enjoys herself with fashion
and never uses it as a barrier behind which to hide. Often, when I observe a woman, my attention is drawn to details that do not directly refer to the word ‘style’. And sometimes, what can be considered a detail or a mistake is what reveals her personality and makes her unique.

Peekaboo bag in python and striped canvas, Fendi

Alber Elbaz for Lanvin

Why is this your favourite piece from your Spring-Summer 2012 collection?
When I discovered Aymeline in this dress, I didn’t see the dress, I saw the girl. The 25 metres of tulle, I didn’t see them. I only saw the girl’s beauty. For me, that is more important: this magic that reveals a woman. We do not make a dress to make a dress, but to sublimate femininity. And then, this dress in itself is a paradox – it is airy, and at the same time, constructed. It has sleeves but without the reinforcement of straps, merely a length of fabric used as a string that pulls a line. The whole dress is held by these sleeves and the light string around the neck.

What was your inspiration?
While preparing this collection, I had only one expression in mind: ‘hell’s angels’. I do not dress women of power but only powerful women. I added the notion of wings, because if one can fly, one is free. Freedom is power. There was also a rapport with hell. That is what has given the serpent accessories, the diamond wings. This paradox creates a tension that, for me, is life itself.

For you, who is a woman of style?
Style is the only thing you cannot buy. It is not in a shopping bag, a label or a price. It is something that is reflected from the inside to the outside. An emotion.

Aymeline Valade/Women Management wears a dress in washed tulle, a belt, a ‘Ribbons of chains’ neckpiece in goldplated metal, a short silver ‘Thorns’ necklace and a silver ‘ strass line’ necklace, Lanvin. Hairstyling: Claire Raimbault/B4 Agency. Makeup: Christian Attuly/ B4 agency

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