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“Like Ashes” collection photographed by Roberta Ri
“Like Ashes” collection photographed by Roberta Ridolfi

Lightness of Being: Aroma30

Italian designer Michela Fasanella recently launched her latest collection, “Like Ashes”, in Milan under the Aroma30 moniker.

It was a course at Central St Martins that inspired Italian designer Michela Fasanella to leave behind her projects with famous Italian brands and launch her own label, Aroma30. For her first two collections, the delicate “Demo” and the romantic “Origami”, Michela used light and soft fabrics to create ethereal moods; in “Tubes” she explored instead the possibilities offered by one colour, black, using it in perfectly tailored jackets and dresses characterised by striking shoulder pieces and embroidered motifs created by knotting and braiding materials, a technique Michela also employed to decorate her non-collection coats.

In her fourth collection, “Like Ashes” – recently presented in Milan – the young designer ventured into a refined, sophisticated and poetical dimension. Michela’s latest all-white collection features simple dresses in which soft pleated and draped motifs are created with multiple layers of fluid fabric that endow the garments with a special lightness. The result of her experiments in volume enhancing, fabric layering, twisting and folding are flatteringly feminine and dreamy.   

Dazed Digital: Can you tell us more about your background?
Michela Fasanella: I started making clothes before I could even draw, so opting for a career in design was a natural consequence, rather than a choice for me. There was a time after I finished school when I thought I would have liked to study neuropsychiatry, but then I opted for a career in fashion. I enrolled at the Accademia di Costume e Moda in Rome and, after I graduated, I started working for Salvatore Ferragamo. I then moved on and focused on accessory design at Valentino’s R.E.D. line. Inspired by the dynamic environment I found myself surrounded by during a summer course in Fashion Design and Marketing at Central St Martins, I decided the time had come to launch my own label.  
DD: Where does the name of your label come from?
MF: I wanted a name that had a specific meaning and “aroma” is a word that exists both in the Italian and the English languages. I added “30” at the last minute while I was registering the trademark as I liked the idea of calling my brand like a perfume that was still in the work-in progress stage, as if it were an unfinished product that hasn’t got a proper name yet.

DD: How difficult is it for a young designer to make it in Italy?
MF: It’s always difficult, no matter where you are based, but in Italy it can be even more difficult as the country is not open to new things, its tastes are rather classical and the market is happy with the designs offered by the big names. That said, during the last few years there have been quite a few competitions and initiatives to give more space to young talents and I hope there will be more.  
DD: Who are your favourite designers?
MF: Madeleine Vionnet, Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto, Hedi Slimane and Prada.
DD: Can you tell us more about your creative process?
MF: Usually I already have in mind the designs I want to create before I even start sketching. I then put them on paper and then transfer my ideas on a dummy, where I work on my volumes, drapes and details. Working with the fabric allows me to experiment more, as I usually build a dress following the textures of the different materials or I try to create shapes that contrast with the materials I choose.  

DD: Is there a theme or a story behind your most recent collection?
MF: I usually start from a precise theme when I plan a collection, but I let different influences and moods come into that main theme. While I worked on “Like Ashes” I was obsessed by one colour, white, but I wanted to explore it in all its different nuances, so I thought about milk, Marseille soap, ceramics, the warm light of dawn, linen and geometrical lines. It was a radical change compared to my previous collections that were darker and slightly more complex.

DD: Would you like to design also an accessory line one day?
MF: Yes, I would love to. When I worked at Valentino I often designed accessories and was surrounded by a team of extraordinary people who taught me incredible things.

DD: London, Paris or Milan: at which Fashion Week would you like to showcase your pieces one day?
MF: London is cool and Paris is chic, but Milan means home to me, so I would opt for the latter.

Photographs of “Tubes” collection by Michela Fasanella; photographs of “Like Ashes” collection by Roberta Ridolfi; Photograph of non-collection coat by Peppe Tortora.