Lorenzo Serafini, creative director of Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini for the Aeffe group, talks about the society we live in, revealing aspects of his life both personal and professional and laying bare the more human side of his character.
You get an inkling of Lorenzo Serafini’s Italian dream from a couple of essential phrases he often uses to describe himself: “I’m a romantic, I talk about women, to women, I’m an insurrection against the market’s desertification of ideas in favour of higher turnover.” An aesthete as few others, he’s been immersed in fashion since adolescence collecting magazines, videocassettes and newspaper cuttings, fostering an image of fashion that could be seen as a new concept of feminine elegance itself.
F.1.M. : How did your career start?
L.S. : I graduated from the Naba in Milan, then I did an internship with Blumarine. That was my first real job, and it led to me work for a long period with Roberto Cavalli and later Dolce&Gabbana. I’ve worked for three historic Made in Italy brands, owned by families of entrepreneurs and stylists from whom I learned the love for the work I do, which I try to pass on to everyone working with me. Getting to be creative director of Philosophy 5 years ago was a significant achievement for me. Seeing my name on the labels, on signs in shops and on the fashion show schedules was a unique experience, the kind that only a group with the stability and Italian entrepreneurial spirit of Aeffe could give.
F.1.M. : How do you define yourself in a professional sense?
L.S. : A stylist, a creative with a passion for reading and research. A romantic soul, part looking to the past and part firmly in the present.
F.1.M. : We live in a “liquid” society, dominated by uncertainty, the rules of marketing and maximum profit. Milan, and Monte Carlo for that, are perhaps the “liquidest” cities on the planet. How do you live and relate to this kind of society?
L.S. : AI love Milan. It’s the creative capital of Europe, the city Italy believes in and supports because we all know that it’s the fundamental engine driving many aspects of our country, creativity first and foremost.
On the other hand, Monte Carlo, the place I dedicated my summer show to, represents the dream, the glamour, perfection, the good life, the jet set and the Dolce Vita French-style. Being in Monte Carlo is like being on a film set outside normal time and space. From the sunsets to the architecture of the buildings, the gardens and beautiful women driving powerful sports cars. Everything is (or seems) perfect. These are just a few of the things that struck me.
F.1.M. : Everything seems possible and accessible, and all this seems to be due to a lack of rules. What do you think?
L.S. : Everything might appear possible, but that’s not the way it is. You need preparation, study, work, dedication. For everything and in everything. There are already far too many rules, but in the end we Italians have shown we can abide by them.
F.1.M. : At the same time we’re living in a society without values and commitments, based solely on the immediacy of things. What are your values?
L.S. : My values are the ones that have always inspired me both in life and in work. Respect is certainly a fundamental value for me; respect for others, for the environment, for diversity.
F.1.M. : Thinking back over the years, the star system defines the ‘sixties as Monte Carlo’s golden age, frequented by billionaires, oligarchs, actors and actresses, when the bourgeoisie decided to spend their vacations on the Côte d’Azur sparing no expense, in search of the carefree life, launching fashions and fads. How do you see the situation today, given that your collection currently in boutiques throughout the world is a tribute to this city?
L.S. : My collection is principally based on a number of photos of princesses Caroline and Stephanie, their look always contrasting and always with something perfect but surprising. I fell in love with them from a very early age. So my collections always include a lot of denim, my passion, customised with crystals or printed on chiffon, T-shirts with Breton stripes and dreamy evening gowns with floral prints or cream-coloured micro-sequins that reflect the colours of the sunset.
F.1.M. : How did your relationship with show-business start?
L.S. : Let’s say I think I just kind of fell back into it! I’ve always been used to being behind the scenes, but now I’m beginning to see that I really like this more ‘showy’ aspect of my business. I love talking with editors and stylists, getting to see their points of view. Over the years I’ve known so many women who’ve been faces of my brand as well, and I love seeing by clothes interpreted by them.
F.1.M. : How important is it to work in a company like Aeffe?
L.S. : For me it’s fundamental. Being part of such a solid group gives you a priceless sense of security. Aeffe, and its founders Alberta and Massimo Ferretti, have great respect for the word “work”, which makes them two people who know how to support a brand and give creatives the freedom to express themselves to the full.
F.1.M. : What are the pillars of Philosophy’s creativity?
L.S. : Attention to the “woman”, not any specific woman. I often see photos of young celebrities wearing my clothes, and then when I travel I see women of various ages wearing the same things and I love it. It means that women understand the way I do fashion for them.
My values are the ones that have always inspired me both in life and in work. Respect is certainly a fundamental value for me; respect for others, for the environment, for diversity.
F.1.M. : What is there of “still” in you and why?
L.S. : A great deal! I’m a very calm, reflective person. I need my time and space. To think then to act.
F.1.M. : Something “sparkling”?
L.S. : A love for travelling with no destination, for life and nature.
F.1.M. : How does Lorenzo Serafini seduce a woman who wants one of his dresses?
L.S. : By having her try it on! And adding a surprising detail. A cloth flower, a bag with gold chain, ankle boots under a romantic dress…
F.1.M. : A memorable phrase that’s become a mantra for you?
L.S. : “never say never!”