Slowly, Florence restarts, and nothing better to celebrate this rebirth than with fashion, which represents so well what is typical and traditional in the city. On October 24 and 25 the doors of the most important Maisons will be opened as a symbol of the Italian “renaissance”. It is ApritiModa, of which the journalist and creator Cinzia Sasso talks about exclusively in the following interview.
Antica Torre – Since 2017 (in Florence since 2018) ApritiModa has led the public to discover the most hidden and secret places in the world of fashion. What changes with COVID-19, are there restrictions on “opening the doors of the fashion maisons”?
Cinzia Sasso – Being able to organize ApritiModa was an act of great courage and a bit of a gamble, but I am sure that events like these are the rainbow on the horizon that the country needs. Of course, this year there will be no queues of people waiting in front of the fashion maisons, reservation will be required, and with limited numbers to respect the rules of social distancing.
AT – Some people may think that in a time of global crisis, due to the Pandemic, talking about fashion is superficial. What would you say to those who have not yet understood the importance of the fashion market not only to Florence and Italy, but to the world?
CS – Fashion is not sequins and VIPs. It is one of the sectors driving the economy of our country, the second largest industry in Italy. This means jobs and reputation around the world. It must also be our pride, because it expresses the beauty and skill that only we are capable of.
AT – Which fashion maisons are part of the project in Florence and what can visitors expect?
CS – We have 75 “open doors”, scattered in eleven regions of Italy from Friuli to Sardinia. Places where “Made in Italy” is born and becomes a product. Tuscany is one of the most represented regions and offers fourteen unique knowledge opportunities. On the ApritiModa website there is a list and description of all the places open to visitors. I can only mention them in alphabetical order because each is extraordinary in its own way. The Antico Setificio Fiorentino, Enrico Coveri, Ermanno Scervino, the Fondazione Arte della seta Lisio, the art laboratory of the Teatro alla Pergola and that of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Loretta Caponi, the Textile Museum of Prato, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, the Prada garden factory in Valvigna, the Premiata Tessitura TACS, the shoe craftsman Stefano Bemer.
AT – How is the choice of the maisons made? What are the requirements?
CS – The fundamental requirement is to be authentically Made in Italy. That is, to be a piece of the many that make up the mosaic of our know-how. They can be brands of global importance or small artisans, the important thing is that they are truly places where creativity, quality and know-how are perpetuated. We ask the participating companies only one thing: to tell visitors a story, their story. We want the audience to come home with a true story in their hearts and minds.
AT– How many visitors are expected in Florence?
CS – This year the success of ApritiModa cannot be measured in numbers, because for an obvious sense of responsibility we have limited attendance. However, we have worked hard on the site. And even if this year only a few lucky ones will be able to touch with their own hands the beauty of these places, many will be able to get to know them through the photos and stories of each one, that we tell on the website and on social media, from Instagram, to Facebook to LinkedIn.
AT– Apart from the COVID safety rules, what are the news of the 2020 event?
CS – This is the first national edition. In 2017 we started from Milan, in 2018 we had a wonderful edition in Florence, in May 2019 a second Milanese edition, with over twenty thousand visitors. 2020 is a crucial year, the year of the turning point. From this year we will have a regular appointment, always in October, I believe, and destined to discover and make people discover more and more reality.
AT – The event plays an important role in the learning of fashion industry students. Can you talk a little bit about it?
CS – In the first three editions, students from schools and universities that have to do with fashion have played a fundamental role. They acted as voluntary guides to the visits, trained for the task by the maison themselves, so they had the opportunity to come into direct contact with those who are the direct objects – and often the dream – of their studies. The 2020 situation prevented us from carrying out this part of the project, but we have entrusted the Naba students with the task of documenting the two days with videos and photos. And anyway, I love being able to do something together and for students: since the first edition, Emma Pradella works with me, a girl who asked me to participate when she was studying fashion publishing at London’s Saint Martins and who is the author of most of the texts present on the website. Now Mariavittoria Zaglio, who has just completed a journalism master’s degree, also works with me. They have been very precious to me, and I hope to have been a good school for them.
AT – Speaking of the history of ApritiModa, how did the idea of creating the event come about and how was it received by the fashion maisons? What has changed from the first year of the event to today?
CS – I am a journalist and for me ApritiModa is simply another way of telling stories. For many years I have been telling stories with words, now I do it this way. And then the spring was the love for our wonderful country, the most beautiful and the capable in the world, a thought that always comes to the surface during my travels abroad. At ApritiModa I also like the game of discovery, the idea of bringing people to discover what is behind the doors that they may have seen a thousand times, but they were closed and did not reveal the heritage they hide.
AT – Are you working on new projects that you would like to share with our readers?
CS – I cannot say it until I do it… it is a brilliant idea that I must keep confidential until I invite all of you to follow me in this new adventure. But do not be afraid: first, I will continue to enrich ApritiModa every year!