By Aarushi Saxena
SAN GIMIGNANO – Situated in a little pocket of the Tuscan terrain, Lucia Boni’s atelier in San Gimignano is full of bright coloured coats, hats and scarves mirroring the surrounding landscapes. With a vertical loom taking centre-stage in the store and spools of blue yarn dotting the floor in her workshop above, Lucia’s creative soul is very evident at a glance. The artisanal quality of her designs and her contemporary approach make for a sublime manifestation of hand-made fashion.
Lucia has been hand-weaving ‘tapestries to wear’ since 1978, without any formal training in the craft. Each of her haute-couture creations are woven directly on the frame and then carefully hand-sewn together – totally eliminating the need to cut. With quality and care being of utmost importance, she is very particular about the materials used and how they can be combined to form different textures in one garment.
“In warp I always use 100% merino, in the weave my favourite is mohair. I also use silk, alpaca or cashmere into the inserts of some designs. My mohair comes mainly from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa but the thread is made in Italy in Prato.”
Showing off a particularly vibrant cape that seems to be reminiscent of Klimt’s famous painting ‘The Kiss’, she said: “The time required is based on the complexity of the design. It can take two days to a week. This one took me a month to make.”
Despite having no conscious point of reference, Lucia’s inspiration comes from the nature in Tuscany: warm oranges and pinks borrowed from the sunsets and shades of green from the vineyards surrounding San Gimignano.
“There is a symbiosis between me and the frame. The idea of the model, of the design, of the colours and how to make them come together in my mind at the same time.”
When asked about what a day in her life is like, Lucia says that between her two ateliers, one in San Gimignano and the other in Colle di Val d’Elsa, she keeps dividing her time and no two days are the same.
“I am practically jumping from one place to another; I always have 1000 things to do! I have to organize the work for the various collaborators, prepare the colours, the diagrams with the measurements and understand what the implementation times will be so as to organize who will sew them. Needless to say, being a very small artisan business I have to deal with all of it.”
Though tucked away in a small hill-town of Tuscany, fame has not eluded her. With over 40 years of experience, she has been invited to showcases in over 40 collective and personal exhibitions in Italy, USA, Japan, Paris etc. In 1990 Lucia produced some of the costumes for the lead roles in the Franco Zeffirelli film, ‘Hamlet’. Even designer Emilio Pucci spoke of her creations: “Her work is hope and love and as such has a validity that transcends it substance and embellishes its value.”
“I use all quality materials, my clothes and fabrics are treated in detail, sewn by me, truly hand made with a 40-year experience. Who is more sustainable than me?”
WHERE: Visit her atelier in San Gimignano or find her online here.
PRICE RANGE: Coats and jackets 500 to 1500 euros; Accessories 60 to 150 euros