The new Venture monogram by Francesco Scognamiglio by Sea is a showcase for its Neapolitan know-how
The pandemic has forced independent creators to overhaul their practices; for some it resulted in dramatic, sometimes difficult, leadership changes, while for others it was a sort of blessing in disguise, prompting them to rethink their fashion and take a more versatile and agile approach.
The latter is the case of Francesco Scognamiglio, who recently sold the shares of his eponymous company to launch a new label. Called Monogram by Sea, it is designed, as he explained, “more like a private club than a fashion brand”. Its lifestyle format encompasses high-end fashion collections as well as various future projects still in the works, including home decorations, fragrances, and collaborations with artisans in southern Italy to produce limited editions of top handcrafted specimens. range. Originally from Pompeii, where his workshop was established in 1998 and where he is still based, Scognamiglio knows how to navigate the rather picturesque Neapolitan world.
The first Monogram by Sea collection is a couture offer in line with the dramatic red carpet work for which the designer is known. Body-hugging numbers dripping with crystals and rhinestones alternate with tailored masculine pieces, cut oversized with Neapolitan sartorial craftsmanship. Most rendered in translucent white or pearly seashell pink hues, the alluring evening dresses are designed for a “young Venus emerging from the sea,” as Scognamiglio explained. Equally sexy is a series of asymmetrical draped dresses in liquid black jersey, obliquely designed as a tribute to the late Gianni Versace, alongside whom Scognamiglio worked in the years leading up to the untimely death of the late designer. “They are also inspired by the Roman peplos of ancient statuary,” he said, highlighting his South Italian roots.
Scognamiglio believes that couture is a modern practice with solid foundations in the past – “couture is the mother of ready-to-wear,” he said – and his adoption of haute upcycling is therefore consistent. He bought hand-made corsets like those no longer made from a former Neapolitan corset maker, as well as the records of a French producer of hand-embroidered lace. Inlaid and embellished bustiers became the bodices of glamorous evening gowns or were worn as bodysuits under hand-sewn opera coats. But don’t call this approach sustainable; he prefers to call it “sensitive seam”.