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New Fashion East Addition Maria Francesca Pepe

Having just been announced as the new addition to February’s Fashion East lineup, MFP will be creating more garments with integrated jewellery.

Maria Francesca Pepe’s jewellery was born from one single element in her graduate collection at Central Saint Martins catching the eye of the press. Since then, her heavy metal tubular jewellery has gone down a storm and now as an early Christmas present, Pepe has just been announced as one of the new additions on the Fashion East show sponsored by Topshop, for A/W 09-10, joining the returning Natascha Stolle and other newcomer Holly Fulton. She shares some of her sketches from her S/S 09 collection with Dazed Digital and talks about her journey from womenswear to jewellery and back to womenswear.

DD: You studied womenswear originally but then went onto create distinctive jewellery pieces (the SS08 tubing collection) and now you have designed a collection of womenswear that incorporates your jewellery - how did that progression happen?  Was it accidental or did you always intend to go down the route of accessories?
Maria Francesca Pepe: I studied womenswear because anytime I design something I think about the human body, so the focus is always on wearing something. That's also the key of my jewellery design: wearing them as a dress. The reason why I have started my label making jewellery is both accidental and intended.
Accidental because after my CSM MA show the jewellery pieces I had sewn on the garments became the signature detail of the collection itself and it caught the attention of the press; intended because as a consequence of this I decided it was a clever decision to focus on accessories to enter the fashion market during a period when it was saturated with new Womenswear designers.
Since I presented my first collection however, fashion jewellery has became a big trend and all the fashion houses are incorporating a jewellery line in their collections.
DD: You've collaborated with designers like Louise Grayand Roksanda Ilincic - who are you working with next season?
MFP: My collaboration with Roksanda is continuing as we both really enjoyed working together and we had a great response from the press. I feel we have found an effortless way of understanding each other’s creativity. Roksanda has been a blessing for me and I really respect her work.
Another designer I am working with for next fall is Emilio de la Morena; he also shows in London and being a former architect, he inspired me to explore further the approach to volumes in my design. We are having so much fun working together, he's a great guy.
DD: You've got an impressive list of fans....Roisin Murphy, Agyness Deyn - who else would you like to see wear MFP...?
MFP: Roisin has been supporting me since the very first day and I couldn't ask for a better artist to interpret my creations: she is always stunning and so talented. Agyness is also a blessing: anything she wears is such a cool choice, so I'm glad she owns my designs. To be honest, I do not have icons, it's not the way I approach fashion. I believe I design for anyone who enjoys beautiful things as I do. If I should have to pick someone I would choose Chloë Sevigny, she has an understated elegance.

DD:  Do you start off with materials first or a more abstract inspiration or idea?
MFP: The first inspiration is always merely conceptual: I always evolve from what I've done in my previous collection and I see how it changes. I believe my inspiration is Change, Transformation, looking at things from a different prospective. Nothing is created and nothing dies, it always changes.

DD: Congratulations on Fashion East - how do you feel about being selected for the show next season?
MFP:  It's like feeling my dream has come true: few people can say that in their whole life, so I feel blessed. I'm working really hard to make the best out of this amazing opportunity, but then at the same time I trust letting things go their own way and enjoying all of it.