A design and Tuscan culture aficionado, Emiliano Rinaldi, engineer as well as designer, is an outsider in his genre. His collections, made of timeless garments, draw inspiration from Tuscan life and its rituals: from the visit to the tailor, to the barber’s ritual and the osteria. The classics of the man’s wardrobe, from the double-breasted to the dinner jacket, are given a new, modern reinterpretation, to create an image of a chic, smart man, decadent and sensual. Atmospheres of bygone times and traditional workmanship are combined with experimentation with fibres and Japanese materials. After winning the “Who is on next?” competition in 2011 at Pitti Uomo, Rinaldi presented his Women’s Spring Summer 2013 collection at the Hotel Carlton Baglioni in Milan. A suite in the legendary Milanese hotel was home to the world of Emiliano for one whole day: tableaux vivants and scenes from daily life to express his idea of a woman. A collection that focuses on pure, noble fabrics, silks and cottons, Glen plaid, all expertly cut like demi-couture.
Your inspiration comes from?
My inspiration comes from my own life, from everyday experience, from my own “ordinariness”, actually. Not having studied at fashion school, I pay attention to everything around me and I try to draw inspiration from that. For the latest collection, I focused on the life of a couple, the beauty of subtle gestures, the most intimate realm of a relationship between two people. I wanted to convey the notion of intimate, inner elegance, not to be shown to others, but to be shared with one’s own partner.
In what way do Tuscany and its imagery reappear in all of your collections?
I was born and raised in Arezzo. Being Tuscan is a lifestyle for me; it means sharing ancient values and being the bearer of a special history and background. I often travel around the Tuscan hills to meet the craftsmen who work with me, and despite my being born here, I am still spellbound before the poetry of certain rituals that have remained unaltered over time. My barber, for example, is just a few kilometres from Arezzo. There, a shave is a magical moment of exclusively male confession and sharing; we talk about the weather, the vines, ourselves.
What is your relationship with craftsmanship?
I believe it is a thing of great value, which also forms part of Tuscan tradition. Not having studied, I took great pains to learn all the development stages of the collection to produce the sample. So, I turned to a series of artisans from my own province, from whom I am learning all the tricks of the trade. Every day I would go to their workshops and we’d work together to achieve the best result, seeking the detailed perfection that only the Tuscan masters can give you.
What has changed since “Who is on next?”
It was like an exam, a test of my work. It helped me understand what direction to take and that fashion was really my calling. It also made me more aware and responsible; it made me understand what creating a collection really means. And it helped a lot to publicise my work among the trade and the general public, it gave me confidence and made sure fashion became my life.
Why Milan to present your Donna S/S2013 collection?
I presented my men’s collection several times at Pitti Immagine and I want to continue to do so, also because no other event represents my values and my world like Pitti does. I was born out of this event and I want to continue to be there. For my women’s collection, I wanted to measure myself with the Italian fashion world and show my work on women’s garments. I needed an intimate situation, one that could represent the home, that could convey my passion and my mood, so I chose a hotel suite, like people used to do.
What image of a woman do you find alluring?
A woman who lives for elegance and good taste, with a strong personality and great character, free from convention and stereotypes. A woman who loves looking good for her man and at all times of day.
Plans for the future?
After Milan, I’ll be taking my collection to Paris in a gallery in Le Marais. My work is very popular in France, abroad and especially in Japan.