Elegance, femininity and tailoring made in Italy
At 195 Via Portuense in Rome, in a rapidly evolving district of the capital, known for the imposing structure of the former gasometer and the growing concentration of young artists, designers and small architectural firms, is situated the atelier of the Italian designer Antonio Martino, owner of the “Antonio Martino Couture” brand since 2008. We met him and he spoke to us about the projects, desires and dreams of a man, who from a young age decided to dedicate his life to creativity, attention to detail and spontaneous beauty of shapes and colors with which he has always worked so passionately.
His latest collection - 24 haute couture garments, on the catwalk in the Italian capital in the setting of AltaRoma - is inspired by the Japanese Renaissance and the captivating love story between Orihime and Hikoboshi, protagonists of the ancient legend of Tanabata, who are forced, by divine punishment, to meet only once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month. I was struck by the message that the legend conveys - says the stylist - the solidity of the passion born between the two young people and the desire to live intensely every single moment of life, even short and fleeting. I wanted to deepen into the study of this theme - explains Antonio Martino - I researched and read to understand traditions and symbols of a civilization I did not know enough about. I wanted to go beyond stereotypes and interpret through my clothes the messages of oriental folk legends which had attracted my attention, revealing the sensitivities and frailties of Samurai women, icons of precision, effectiveness and elegance.
Antonio Martino’s creations are aimed not only at the audience of potential customers, but at a wider audience with whom he wants to share ideas and tastes. The story of the show goes into details, in the description of the processing techniques, the materials used, the choice of colors, associated with an emotional sphere as well as decorative, up to the details of the hairstyles. The cuts are structured, the lines are rigorous and the whole presentation takes place following an intense dialogue between luxurious and technical fabrics (leather, cashmere wool, vinyl) that are expertly mixed together, giving life to “modular” garments. The versatility of each creation, which is intended as the possibility of disassembling and reassembling the same garment, is the collection and brand’s distinctive trait. It represents the true intuition at the base of the designer's creative path.
Antonio Martino embodies a genuinely “made in Italy” fashion. It becomes a channel for expressing emotions and moods and for asserting thoughts and opinions. It is a fashion that helps communicate, but at the same time does not allow communication to prevail and impose times and methods of production. The designer believes that luxury today consists of the freedom to wear any garment and to openly experience the most disparate sensations. Taking inspiration from Giorgio Armani's recent open letter to Women's Wear Daily, Antonio Martino firmly believes in the need to "seize the wonderful opportunity" that these last few months have offered to restore "value of authenticity". He says, it is about returning fashion to its ancient originality made of timeless clothes, dreams and style. It will be possible to choose to "slow down" in the long term and not only because of a temporary imposition – the designer claims-. It will be necessary to be far-sighted and give back life and identity to clothes, making them recognizable, but not homologated, in the name of a creative ethic that the fashion system will have to enhance.
Antonio Martino's journey is constantly evolving; the desire for research and experimentation, innovation, starting from tradition, are all consistent in his professional ethic and highly influenced by the many collaborations with some of the most prestigious names in Italian fashion. The central role that he has reserved for the studio has led him to want to share experiences and knowledge with the youngest who should to be less attracted by the prospects of rapid fame and more focused on the development of personal projects and skills. From his point of view, teaching and confronting the new generations play a leading role. The designer’s willingness to promote emerging young people occupies a great, decisive place in his life.
The "Antonio Martino couture" brand is growing, and the designer’s future aim is to expand the international notoriety of his brand, which in three words he defines as exclusive, feminine and tailored. Being in a constant search for new sources of inspiration, he looks to the end of a health emergency as the starting point of a new normality in which fashion will necessarily have to reposition itself. The world will need to take advantage of the most modern communication tools, learn to benefit from virtual marketing experiences and to keep up with time in new ways of presenting collections and communicating with the audience. At the same time, the designer is convinced that fashion will not be able to give up the “spectacularization” - the beating heart of every season nor will it be able to completely abandon the dream dimension that only the direct perceivable experience can ensure.
In these days the next collection is being formed which - Antonio Martino reveals without giving us the details - will be inspired by Versailles, in a contemporary reinterpretation of that historical era. There is no date yet, but it will not be a virtual presentation.