We meet Pietro Paradiso, fashion designer and tailor.
His stylistic research is driven by his bond with the Italian region of Apulia, his homeland, and reinterprets Arab influences and Turkish memories with a modern, refined use of materials and colors.
How did you start your business?
It all started as a joke. At school, I used to draw dresses on my desk, and slender silhouettes as models for those first sketches rich in frills, pleats, transparencies and small flowers. It was not absolutely intentional.
At some point, one my classmates’ father, a local entrepreneur working in the wedding business, had a look at my drawings, thought I had some potential and decided to put me to the test.
A magical time of my life started, I was working at an atelier that gave me new inspiration and ideas every day. That was when I realized what my dream was.
What does creating a dress mean to you?
First of all, it is a responsibility.
Today, I know that a creative dress expresses itself through the beauty of the woman meant to wear it, along an intimate, psychological and spiritual journey.
I have always been convinced – and I am now more than ever – that there is more to longing for a dress than a mere narcissistic whim.
Dressing your body is a need, and undressing it first a necessity.
My garments are finer than those baring a woman’s frailty, and create an alchemy with beauty that turns them into works of art.
Do you consider yourself more as tailor, or designer?
Rather than standing alone, the two roles complete each other. A designer thinks, imagines, plans, while a tailor brings projects to reality, and perfects them with manual expertise and wisdom.
I feel lucky for being able to build a relationship, a dialogue between these two roles in myself.
What is your relationship with color?
It is an intense bond, almost a love relationship.
The color I love most is violet, the last of chakra colors. Matched with the Crown Chakra, it indicates the top of the head, a link to the divine world, and spirituality.
Violet is extremely important to me, and it has always been a part of my work since the very beginning.
There is a beautiful story that I call “The violet cape” ̶ it is about me and my relationship with my mother as seen through a cape I had made for her. It is my lucky charm, all my shows open with it.
Your creations are inspired by caftans. What are the reasons behind this choice?
Caftans follow a style trend that reminds me of my homeland.
I cannot hide my love for Turkey, nor the strong influence it has had on me.
In Apulia, the Turkish presence is evident and strong. I am fascinated by the symbology represented by Kilim carpets, the same that defines cones in Alberobello’s trulli, or capitals in the crypt of the Duomo di Otranto cathedral, where Turkish invaders’ remains are conserved.
I think you can do no fashion without roots, without becoming an ambassador of the land where you belong. Apulia has been the inspiration of everything for me, and caftans have always been a part of people’s fashion, strongly influences by Arabs.
I have just given a stylistic identity to what was already there.