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September 19 2011

Meeting with CO|TE, who are showing in Milano FW for SS 2012. The occasion to best (re)discover their world.

Francesco Ferrari and Tomaso Anfossi, who studied at the Istituto Marangoni, have always had a great passion for fashion, which strikes us as soon as we meet them: so young, respectively 27 and 24 years old, and already trained, with clear ideas and a vision of the style and the woman who they wish to dress, mature and contemporary. We let them do the talking. Welcome to the world of CO|TE.

How did you get started? How did you arrive at your line? And what’s the reasoning behind the name?

F.F. & T.A. We knew each other from a mutual collaboration, that was where our friendship was born which over time then got us thinking that maybe we could try a line of our own. Initially it started out as a game, a challenge and with time the project became more and more concrete, becoming part of us, involving us fully. Co|te stands for protection and refuge, for that we chose this name. For us, fashion is a refuge from the outside world, where we can express ourselves and our passions.

Where does the collection get its inspiration? What are your icons of reference?

F.F. & T.A. The inspiration can really come from anywhere and everywhere, at any moment. Of course, keeping up-to-date on what we’re surrounded by helps us to have a more open and receptive mentality. When design, we don’t think of an icon of reference, because we find it to be a reductive and old-fashioned idea; instead we think of what we like to see on a woman and how to make that unique, without being to vulgar or odd, which would ruin the silhouette rather than creating it.

Which of your contemporaries do you like and which ones have had an impression upon your creative pursuit?

F.F. & T.A. It would be too long a list, we think that all the big designers always have something to teach to us young ones who are often overlooked in this world.

The collection is apparently very minimal, very clean in its design. In what way is your woman eccentric?

F.F. & T.A. Our woman is eccentric when she mixes and matches the different garments in our collection as if it were a puzzle. We believe in the possibility of women playing with fashion, rediscovering thus their playful side, giving life to a look that not even we could dream of creating. It’s certainly risky, but fashion can be defined by the way someone can style their own wardrobe and be a different person depending on the situation they’re in.

There’s a great onus on researching the silhouette, but also the materials. In general where do you think newness comes from? For example, can the materials help in the creative process and in the research?

F.F. & T.A. “Newness” is an abstract concept: what’s new for us could already be old for someone else, and vice versa. For that reason, when we realise our collections, we pay particular attention to the choice of materials, because it’s fundamental for us that the silhouette is also maintained when the garment is being worn, in order to create a recognisable and identifiable image of the label. The textile is the basis for everything, if you choose the wrong one a dress can transform magically into a dirt cheap rag!

You’re very young. What do you think of the Italian fashion system in relation to the new generations?

F.F. & T.A. Being young in Italy is certainly not easy like it can be elsewhere. We think that if you surround yourself with people that are skilful and who believe in your project, you can go a long way. In the last few years, Italian fashion is directing itself a lot to young people and that’s a most beautiful sign of how the times are changing.

How do you divide the work in two?

F.F. & T.A. A designer’s work has so many facets. It’s difficult to image – it’s not based simply on design and research. In fact there’s a very important behind-the-scenes job which involves direct contact with the suppliers, a continual dialogue with the stores and the press. Having your own line of course completes the image of a designer, for that reason we look to split the workload evenly so that we learn as much as possible from this experience.

Do you have any projects for the future?

F.F. & T.A. At the moment we’re designing a collection for Spring/Summer 2012, which will be our third. We would like to be successful in creating a strong image which allows us to be recognisable among the various brands which have recently started making headway in the world of both Italian and international fashion. You can only get there by working hard and nonstop.

Learn more about CO|TE presentation

Interview conducted by Stefano Guerrini ©