Accessories again feature in our journey to discover the finalists of the last edition of the 'Who's on Next? Man’, held last June at Pitti Uomo. And this time it's the turn of Ilariuss hats, a brand founded in 2013, fruit of the creative mind of Ilaria Soncini, who was born in 1984, in the province of Reggio Emilia and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brera. Her desire to become a costume designer led Ilaria to Berlin at the age of 22 years old, where she discovered her love for hats, and she then established her brand on her return to Italy, where she was also asked to create headgear for La Scala in Milan. Ilariuss expresses many aspects of the creativity of the designer: in her work, androgenic aspects combine with other details that are more feminine, while irony, theatricality and a careful study of shapes and materials all co-exist in the proposals of the brand. We caught up with Ilaria soon after the fair in Florence to learn more about her experience and her world.
How was the brand created and what are its main characteristics?
The Ilariusss hat brand was created in 2014 in response to my desire to create new shapes that would describe my vision of the hat.
Can you tell us about the collection for Spring/Summer 2017?
The iconic shapes of the brand, such as the heart, the mouth and the octagon return in fabric form and are mixed with sophisticated details such as the gros grain weave and the metal closure composed of two serpent heads, all alluding to the shape of an imperfect egg. Then, the range of baseball caps becomes interesting, not only due to the shape of the lips, but also due to their visors, which point ironically upwards and their laces, which come to life, while decorating and providing structure. The colour palette includes strong shades of raspberry pink, ocean blue and bright yellow, later becoming gentler and sweeter with the colour milk white. In terms of materials, 100% cotton, blue and black denims sit alongside jacquard patterns and straw weaves that are a clear reference to 1940s-style bread baskets.
Where does your inspiration for an accessory such as hats come from?
I am inspired by the theatre, children’s fairy tales and my friends.
How can a designer be innovative in this industry?
I think that we can define ourselves as innovative when we have something true and personal to say and this need is generated by the love and passion for what we do.
How would you sum up the concept of elegance?
When I think of elegance, the first thing that comes to mind is a wonderful person who is the epitome of elegance for me: Amal Clooney.
How important is a competition like WION, in your opinion?
WION allows up-and-coming brands to introduce themselves and meet industry professionals. I have met some competitors who are really good at what they do and this has made me proud to be part of this world.
A memory or your favourite moment from this edition of Pitti?
I will never forget the moment when we exhibited our work and our collection. It was truly exciting.
Plans for the future?
I have many things planned, such as partnerships with Fashion Houses and projects where I will act as consultant. Instead I made my biggest plan last year in Rome, thanks to a special person who helped me understand it. I want to create a studio that hosts a team of passionate workers there to create hats for shows, the theatre, shop windows, and fashion. I am working to meet this objective and know that I will succeed, in some way that has still to be revealed to me.