ROME–Nestled at the end of a sun-kissed street on the Eternal City’s Gianiculum Hill, designer Nadia Mari’s studio is a cross between an artist’s workshop and a silk emporium.
It is hard to find designers who actually do their own sewing and stitching, but Mari, the daughter of a tailor does a lot of the work herself – especially for her one-of-a-kind pieces that are crafted by uniting patches of vintage silk fabric found at markets around London, Paris, Marrakesh and at her local swap meet t Porta Portese in Rome. “My pieces are a type of painting and putting them together is like a work of art,” Mari said.
Her ready-to-wear line includes everything from floor-length evening dresses to lame’ blazers. Her caftans and sinewy ensembles are printed in the silk capital of Como, a lake town in Northern Italy.
Before embarking on her own business venture, Mari worked at some of Italy’s vanguard maisons like Prada and Valentino where she designed accessories.
She eventually met her business partner Giulio Fasano, a former music manager and decided to follow her dream and produce a womens clothing line. “Nadia is the most artistic person I know,” Fasano said.
In a lot of ways, Mari’s collection is a sentimental ode to the past. When Nadia first started, her mother, “the artistic part of the family” was helping her craft her collection.
Now that her mother has passed, a box of her unfinished cloth necklaces, needles and swatches of fabric remain in the studio where she used to work side by side with her daughter Nadia.
“These are all beautiful little creations my mother was working on before she died. She helped me so much. I am going to finish these.”
WHAT: Blouses and dresses made mainly of silk and natural materials like wool. Some neoprene too.
PRICE: 400-500 euros average for a dress.
WHERE TO BUY: Spazio Espanso e Blue Marlin in Rome, Club 21 in Singapore.
SHOWROOM/ATELIER: Via Felice Cavallotti 18, Roma