She graduated at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan, but her course of study also included art and architecture, worlds that have always inspired her work. Her career has included important collaborations, from a giant name like LVMH to such brands as DKNY Men and Vivienne Westwood. Selene Tropiano, an Italian designer living and working in London since 2010, then decided to start out on her own and set up her own menswear brand in 2014. Called, quite simply, by her last name, it took her to the finals at the last menswear edition of the prestigious "Who's on Next?" contest held at Pitti in June. A contemporary brand, whose main elements, such as large silhouettes, soft comfy tailoring and elaborate knitwear, have become her characteristic, distinctive features. We talked to the designer to learn more about her adventure at Pitti.
I have always dreamt of setting up my own clothing line, but I only really started with the first TROPIANO collection in 2014, after years of previous work experience, backed by a desire to express and share my vision of fashion. The brand’s main characteristics are the desaturated shades of colour that contrast with the textures of the fabrics and yarns used for soft, generous silhouettes. One distinguishing feature in particular has become tight double-breasted buttoning on the shirts.
The TROPIANO man is not interested in appearances, preferring to stand out in silence in a sophisticated style, enriched with details and inherent content.
I am continually on the lookout for new ideas and stimuli; I have to be overwhelmed and feel the suggestion of a story to be told. It might be a phrase, a song, a photo or even a work of art. Other times, I am enthused by the visions and lives of artists, literati or poets, both classic and contemporary. My main sources of inspiration are artistic, hardly ever techno or futuristic, reworked in nostalgic poetry.
Casual. I believe in casual, natural elegance. It is not a suit that makes a man or woman elegant but their casual way of wearing it.
Sustainability of materials and manufacture.
WION was very important for me. Having reached the final out of so many designers was a personal success that gave me an extra incentive to believe in the growth capacity of the brand. It really helped me by increasing the visibility of an emerging brand such as TROPIANO and it was a chance to meet and make initial contact with international buyers and press.
I have lots of wonderful memories of Pitti. One in particular is the affinity that came about with the other competitors, with whom I shared the excitement of those days.
What are you working on at the moment?
On the new autumn/winter season. Right now, my table is an untidy heap of photos, drawings, fabric swatches, colours and different yarns. Out of this “orderly chaos” I am planning a few surprises to show in January!