Raffaele Ascione is a ball of talent and energy if I've ever known one. Having worked under Max Mara, Julia Clancey and Gareth Pugh, a few solo in I...
Raffaele Ascione is a ball of talent and energy if I've ever known one. Having worked under Max Mara, Julia Clancey and Gareth Pugh, a few solo shows in Frankfurt and London under his belt, his fantastic FW11 collection stomped down runways at London Fashion Week last year, and some love from Lady Gaga, Raffaele is definitely on an upward trajectory with his intriguing structural ideas, and contrasting textures to match. Needless to say, I was more than excited (not going to lie) to catch up with the goings on in Mr Ascione's headspace and career:
Hi Raffaele! How’s it going?
Hey there, I am good…feeling a huge anticlimax right now in my life. I have just finished my MA in Womenswear at Central Saint Martins and I have to say it was the toughest thing I have done so far. It wasn’t even about the work load as I can handle pressure well, but it was more about learning about myself and how far I could be pushed with my design work. So now, I am catching up on sleep and getting myself out there with my work.
Can you give us a rundown on how you started out with design?
I always wanted to be a designer or dancer, when I finished school back in Germany I could either go to Drama school or Art school. At the time I went for the dancing and did it professionally for 3 years. But then I had the urge to go back to Art and Fashion, I started with my HND in Ireland in 2003 and continued my BA at UCA in the UK, spent a lot of time interning and eventually went working for MAX MARA in Italy until 2009. When I got accepted on to the MA course at CSM I moved back to London.
What would you describe as the vibe of your work?
My aesthetic is always very focused on feminine qualities. I am a sucker for fluid fabrics, lace and flattering silhouettes. I love making clothes that women feel empowered in. Detail and surface application play a big role in my work too. I just really feel strong about making beautiful clothes, nothing cutting edge or wired it should always be something interesting and desirable.
I suppose if I had to wrap it up in a sentence it would say:
“It’s a feel of delicate and intricate under garments accompanied by a strong outerwear piece that holds the quality of a protection shield.”
I really love the a-lines and strong structures in your latest collection – where did you source your inspiration?
My inspiration originated from looking at women during their pregnancies. Focusing at the characteristics such as deformation, re-shaping and juxtaposition. Designers such as Cardin, Christobal Balenciaga and Hubert de Givenchy were important references. The A line silhouette happened by accident, I was toiling until I received something strong and new that hadn’t been around in a while that could support the rest of the very structured tops and uppers of my collection.
Which are your personal favourite pieces?
I really love the sister looks, that are composed together of the panelled jumpers mixed with different tweeds, black ottoman wool and the rubber/lace yoke supported with the strong a line dresses underneath. I also love the curved high waisted pants and the white Rubber coat with the Lace applications. And my accessories and shoes are things that I am very happy with too. The shoes were an exciting collaboration with shoe designer Claire Davis.
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?
Hard question, but I suppose I have always had goals that I have fulfilled so far. So my next step is to get a job with an exciting house and then in a couple of years time go and start my own label.
Who would you most like to see wearing your designs?
It needs to be a very strong woman who has balls to wear certain things and who is very comfortable with her sexuality. If I had to name a celebrity I think it would be someone like Chloe Sevigy or my friend up and coming designer Sorcha O’Ragghlaigh.
Where do bloggers stand for you in the design game?
I was very sceptical of bloggers a couple of years ago, but I suppose with time when I discovered some really good blogs with great content and interesting posts I changed my mind. I think they are very important in today’s society, as they have a voice that can matter a lot.
One of my previous interviewees, designer Clare Press of Mrs Press, would like to know: Tell us about your biggest hair mistake!
My biggest hair mistake….ha ha ha I have had a lot of them, but I think the worst was when I glued two strips of long black hair to my shaved head that worked like a long fringe. And it wouldn’t come out anymore, so I had to run around with this filthy all knotted fringe for two weeks….bad move!
And last of all, what’s a random question would you guys like to ask the next interviewee?
My question to the next designer is based on my love for Britney Spears. What was your most exciting Britney Spears moment?
I'm very much in love with the panels and that burgundy colour happening in the collection. Be sure to check out the rest right HERE.
P.S. so sorry about the relative silence over the past couple of days - first-time law essays are not a strength of mine and I'm battling pretty hard to get to this mid-semester break. Having said that, a ridiculous amount of exciting happenings are about to go down. Watch this space.
P.P.S. Facebook love? No? No?