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Antonio Martino Couture: haute couture is coming in the prêt-à-porter

“One of the few things I like about myself is that my creations are timeless.

And maybe I can really appreciate them after a few years that I’ve realized them.

Born in Salerno, “adopted” by Rome, after his fashion studies and his collaborations with brands such as Gattinoni and Roccobarocco, since 2008 Antonio Martino has opened his atelier in the Capital, distinguishing for his chameleon production, “transformable” garments, suitable for all ages – the series of blouses that can be fastened in 8 different ways was very successful. Housed in many television shows as fashion commentators, Antonio has dressed numerous “VIP”; among others, the singer Simona Molinari during her participation in the Sanremo Festival of 2013 – he dressed her also the following year, letting her gain the “queen of style and elegance” prize.

You’ve often said that your brand is aimed at the woman who wants to be unique every day and doesn’t want to wait for great events: how does this refinement take place in your latest collection’s dresses? My collections are currently divided between Atelier and Urban Park, and the second, in particular, was born to bring some details of haute couture into prêt-à-porter fashion and therefore in everyday life. In Urban Park I played a lot through the approach of fabrics such as neoprene with leather or eco-leather, a woolen cloth wrapped up with a padded quilt, rather than using some details I love like some sewing seams – whose origins could be traced back to 19th century clothes – on garments with modern forms and volumes as a bomber. I tried to dare in this way even in one of my evening dresses, made of neoprene with chiffon inlays.

Urban Park, therefore, looks like a rather winter collection. It is not purely winter, the fact is that I have a predilection for the coats but I’m still working on completing this collection with some missing items.

Antonio’s creative business goes hand in hand with teaching, that lately is focused mainly at the Luxury Academy of Rome.

What is the most important lesson that you try to give to those who approach this type of study for the first time? First of all I try to teach professionalism. The estrus may or may not be different in each one: I can lead everyone to express it, but I can’t condition it. When I assign a research on a particular theme, what I ask to my students is not to stop at the appearance, not to have mental laziness… I’m very stern! And then I urge them not to lose the sense of reality: a dress must make people happy, so the absurd shape can’t make it special.

Do your students – and who wants to get into the fashion world  – have a common background? No, I don’t think so. Fashion is everyone’s dream. When I was young I maybe wanted to be part of it because on TV we watched Beautiful fashion shows! Today, perhaps, the search for beauty is more cultivated, some girls have a fairly well-developed ego and, with the pretext of fashion, they photograph themselves to post their pictures on Instagram, dreaming to become “stars”.

What do you remember in particular of the time when you were studying? I just made the right choices right away. I attended a fashion professional school at a time when – before the school reforms that turned it into a more technical direction – this kind of school really worked.

The Ida Ferri Fashion School – of which I became a teacher and the artistic director for three years – was the next choice and of course, I have a good memory of it: at that time I experienced a lot and it was the right time to do it, for example by creating some sculpture dresses. With Emilia Scaccia (who I met right there) we were bad because we weren’t invited to the school recent celebrations for the 90 years of activity, although we can say that together we made the difference in that school. We haven’t even been mentioned in their communications, they seem to have cancelled us.

Along with designer Emilia Scaccia you created Space 2.0, a multifunctional space that is both a lab and a place to exhibit the creations of both. How was the idea born and how is this project evolving? When Emilia first saw this space it was busy and we already had another one, but we imagined its potential and we insisted to take it: it was a little adventure! Emilia manages the lab but it also works as a service for other clients to whom we provide stylistic advice and manpower. We called it 2.0 because we’d like to open it to young creative people and make it an “interactive” place, but at the moment we are very focused on the work of the atelier and we didn’t have many opportunities to push it in that direction.

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