Tiziana is pleased to welcome Story of Italy into her home. A shoes designer, Tiziana grew up in Apulia, a region in Southern Italy, but she has been living and working in Milan for many years. When did you decide to move?
I do not think it was ever a conscious decision. I am used to move around quite a lot, due to my family, I have never lived in a place for more than seven or eight years. I think Milan is my personal record as I have stayed here for longer than anywhere else.
Milan is renowned for being an inspirational and resourceful city for anyone working in the fashion and design industries. What do you think is the strongest asset that Milan has in this regard?
Milan is a city of immense beauty but it only reveals itself to an attentive eye. Its beauty is hidden in the gardens or in the subtle changes of colours....it is not Rome or Naples. I believe that Milan somehow deepens the aesthetic sensitivity of some people. I love the democratic nature of the Milanese design, it allows you to take a walk under the offices of Vico Magistretti or to take the underground designed by Franco Albini, while you are shopping for rare pieces by those same designers.
What are the things you love the most in this city? And what do you miss?
Milan is very open-minded and welcomes different point of views and opinions. I would like to have more of them, though.
Where do you go to when you want to find inspiration or relax in the city?
To Marocco! I am a firm believer that a hydeaway should be as far as possible to one’s mundane and everyday life, it should be near the ocean. When I am in Milan, I go to the Spa at the Bulgari hotel to relax.
What is your latest art discovery in town?
The ‘bomba” (literally translated “bomb”) at Giacomo, one of my favourite patisseries, it is not a cake but a piece of art.
Can you tell us about the story behind this flat? Why did you choose this one?
I spent about five years looking for a flat – I stopped the search for one year when my son was born. As soon as I entered the courtyard, I said to myself ‘let’s hope this is the one’. Once I entered the flat, the floor was the selling point for me and, after checking the flow of the natural light, I thought ‘the search is over’. I had found my home.
What were the main steps during the flat’s restauration process?
I tried to leave untouched the details from the 20s. The main modification happened in the kitchen where I tore down the wall and replaced it with one in black iron and glass. That section of the house gets a lovely natural light flow in the afternoon and before it was stopped by the wall. Now the light can flow through the corridor and in my son’s bedroom. Other changes include the addition of a second bathroom and a storage room
The floors are a distinctive feature of this house. Were they already in the house or are they part of your restoration plan?
The floors were already here and they were all well-preserved except the one in the bathroom, which I had to replace with antique ones found and ordered online.
In your house, we can marvel at some truly beautiful design pieces, for instance, wicker armchairs used by Carlo Mollino in his polaroid, chandeliers by Venini, original photographs by Bert Stern, Milton H. Greene, Sam Shaw, Cecil Beaton e John Dominis. How did they arrive in your house?
Through my passion for cinema and research. I have a weakness for Marylin Monroe, Steve McQueen and Romy Schneider. I should also say that over the years I have learnt to handle auctions better, I have been able to get many good deals.
Who is your favourite designer?
I do not have one. If we consider the styles, I like the 70s for its freedom, but lately the 40s have been growing on me. My wardrobes have slowly been filled with clothes from that era, I can’t resist!
We have noticed that various shoes have been used as decoration in your house. Clearly this is strictly linked with your job. Can you tell us about your career background?
It has been bizarre. I always thought I would have become a lawyer or a judge, I changed trajectory due to the captivating world of fashion that I have always considered as an interesting cultural phenomenon. My first job was at Prada, where I worked for 12 years, then I changed to Bottega Veneta four years ago.
When you realised that you were interested in fashion, did you think straightaway at shoe design?
Yes, I find that the practice of shoes design in fashion is more complex, it is probably this challenge that drew me to it. I have always had the impression that, in the history of fashion, shoes were considered a lesser component of the industry. I, on the other hand, find that their evolution and their iconographic value are as significant as the ones of clothing.
Do you ever feel the pressure or the influence of the extensive Italian heritage and tradition, particularly in your creative work?
I am certain, or maybe I should say I have the presumption, that I am a descendant of Michelangelo and co! What I mean is that the artistic cultural heritage is handed down through generations and culture but also by cultivating sensitivity to beauty. The most important aspect, especially in a country like Italy, is to educate children to the appreciation of beauty so that, when they grow up, this immense heritage will not be lost and they will be able to transform it into new art, new design, music and literature. To be honest, it also protects us from the ugliness coming from some contemporary architecture, which is dictated by economic advantages or by ecological exploitation.
To contact Tiziana, please visit her LinkedIn profile here.