Interview with Apulian young designer, moral winner of the roman contest
For many people he has been the moral winner of Who is on Next? He’s Mario Chiarella, one of the finalists in the competition sponsored by Vogue Italia and AltaRomAltaModa. We have deeply loved him for the fine choice of materials: unique and rare. The couture. The technical study of the dress that is lately more and more difficult to find (and it is in the ALTA MODA  only). All these details make the young designer from Puglia one of the most promising ones in Italy. And do not forget, he has been the only one to take the fur on the runway...

Q - Let’s break the ice right now... When did you decide to participate Who is on Next? And what about your emotions before, during and after the race?

A - Who is on Next? It’s a good showcase to make your own style and creations known and this is the reason why I have decided to participate. There is someone who produces and distributes my items, Laura Strambi/Yoj, and the choice to introduce myself this year was also dictated by this. When I heard that my collection was loved, the emotion was really great. For me, it has been a victory together with the immense joy I felt after the show, when many people came by to congratulate me.

Q - Do you have your favorite muse or designer? What inspired you for this collection?

A - My strong muse is Tilda Swinton while my favorite designers are Elsa Schiaparelli, Gianfranco Ferrè and Alexander McQueen.

For this collection I was inspired by an ethereal and bright woman who finds balance both in her body and in her spirit. An inner religion which remains unrevealed with the exception of some simbology elements that depart from either the white, reminiscent of the soul innocence and purity, or the Rosary made up of opalescent glass maxi-boule.

Q - Ethereal, light, cool. It's the way your collection appears. Why did you choose the total-white and what fabrics/materials have you used?

A - The white is part of my visions, my dreams. In the oneiric language it indicates the stages of transition, of change, and it fully expresses my desire for personal development.

As regards the materials, I have to thank Laura Strambi again for her Yoj/Organic for Life for Organic Dress line. Thanks to her work as a costume designer, from years ago she is doing a great research on both organic and natural fabrics from a skin wellness perspective. For example, the natural fabrics made from bamboo and cotton fibers and those washed and treated with aloe. I could also use a cotton fabric made of paper fibers, already presented in the Yoj collection. In line with this valuable Japanese art, the origami, that I have created as a distinctive element and treated as a real accessory, couldn’t lack. All the embroideries have been embellished with Swarovski-elements that give both the bodices and accessories a blinding light. Finally, I have used neoprene with iridescent organza inlays to interpret a new Couture.

Q - You have been the only one to enter an article of clothing with fur inserts. Do you think the use of this material has enriched your collection?

A - The fur inserts made that specific outfit even more daring. I wanted to give viewers an aggressive and positive message. “The woman who wears Mario Chiarella is a mould-breaker!”.

Q - Allow me an indiscreet question... Did you expect to be the contest winner?

A - Why? Have not I won? The appreciation by the people who have seen my collection makes me think so!

Q - What about your future plans?

A - I would like to see my collection grow and I know this will be possible thanks to the support of Laura Strambi and Franco Gervasio, creators of the Yoj brand. By agreeing to both produce and distribute my creations, they have welcomed me in their family. The Laura Strambi study is an incubator of ideas and creativity and I am extremely grateful to be part of it.

Q - Instead, when did you realize that fashion, this crazy world, was your way? What is your professional and academicbackground?

A - My passion for fashion was born with me, on October 29th, 1980. It's part of my DNA .. I do not know how, given that in my family there are no tailors or relatives working in the fashion world. As I always say, it didn’t look for me and it was second nature to me to embrace it...

I studied architecture at the Bari Art School and then I specialized as a designer and model maker at the Callegari Institute. Thanks to several competitions - such as "Riccione Moda Italia" and "Nuovo Stilista Italiano", a Vogue Italy and Aip project - I arrived in Rome. There, I worked as a Guillermo Mariotto’s first assistant for Gattinoni Haute Couture. From almost a year, I have moved to Milan to come back to cooperate with the Laura Strambi/Yoj style studio.

Q - Quite apart from fashion, which are your passions, your hobbies?

A - I love the cinema, the old movies as well as the latest releases. In my free time I practice some sport and enjoy myself in chattering with friends, perhaps with a good dish cooked by the rule book ...

Q - So far, what has been the happiest moment of your life? And what’s your secret wish?

A - There are a lot of happy moments I can remember but the emotionally strongest ones are related to my family. The work I have chosen often makes me travel and my mother and my father’s hug when I come back home, in Giovinazzo, moves me every time.

Many thanks to Mario Chiarella

Luca Imbimbo



Luca Imbimbo  Lady Fur e Mario Chiarella