From ‘80s Florentine avant-garde, where he was one of the few to experiment with alternative fashion, to his twenty-year experience with Studio Zeta, of which he was a co-founder. In 2012, Riccardo Grassi decided to start a new adventure bearing his own name: a showroom with a contemporary spirit, presenting 3,000 square metres of fashion, lifestyle and research. It offers men’s/women’s garment and accessory collections marked by innovation and quality without overlooking commercial potential. The aim is to develop a multi-purpose space for events and to sell collections with a strong design element, yet with a contemporary positioning. Over these first years, the showroom can boast over 3,000 international clients from over 70 different nations: from the boutique to the department store, with a careful eye on emerging markets and on the important world of e-commerce. We met Riccardo Grassi to understand his vision and above all to talk about talent.
What does "talent" mean to you?
To me, today, talent means a strategic mindset. A more complex talent that combines style, design and an understanding of market and consumer trends.
Besides the designers you work with, who has the greatest potential for growth on the Italian scene?
I am lucky enough to represent some really talented designers who are already solid international forces, like Giambattista Valli, Alessandro Dell'Acqua with his N21, Massimo Giorgetti with MSGM and Marianna Rosati for DROMe. New faces include Francesco Ferrari and Tomaso Anfossi for CO|TE and Paula Cademartori. As for those who don’t belong to my team, I really admire Marco De Vincenzo and believe he has great potential.
And what designers abroad have you watched “blossom”?
Abroad, I’ve seen Simon Rocha and Mother of Pearl develop considerably and I’m watching them with interest.
How can the new generation of Italian talent be better supported?
I think we should copy what is done in England and the United States, namely supporting new talent for a significant period of time. A contest or cash prizes are not enough: young people should be followed, since they will be the new blood of Made in Italy and of the Italian fashion scene.
Your advice to new talent to make a break today?
Have a strategic vision and observe new generations in emerging countries. That is where new opportunities and possibilities are opening up all the time.
When you’re travelling, what is the one article you always carry with you in your suitcase...?
A pair of sneakers
The last shop you have seen on your travels around the world and which struck you?
Dover Street Market NY
A place, an event, or music that has inspired you and that you recommend?
As soon as I can, I’ll be going to see some costume and fashion exhibitions. A wonderful one I saw recently was the Dries Van Noten exhibition in Paris. A lesson in style and balance