The sartorial art of the brand Mila Schön goes back to 1958, when Mila Schön herself opened her first atelier in Milan. Today, nearly 60 years later, Alessandro De Benedetti is reinterpreting the concept of sartorial elegance by taking on its refined cultural background, his education of illustration, fashion and art – and of his experiences, for example as an assistant to Thierry Mugler but also as creative mind for his own atelier projects.IRMA had the chance to ask some questions about his life and work.
IRMA: How much does illustration and art influence your designs?
ALESSANDRO DE BENEDETTI: Very much! Shapes and colors come to my mind through adolescent memories of my iconic illustrators and artists.
IRMA: Do you have a favorite illustrator?
ALESSANDRO DE BENEDETTI: Yes I have quite a lot … Moebius for the colors and atmospheres, Magnus for the stern touch and the deep black and white streaks, Stefano Tamburini for contrasting color graphics wich has inspired part of the Mila Schön collection FW 16/17, Tanino Liberator for caricatural hyperrealism – almost pictorial, Georges Pichard for the ability to draw eroticism in a cloudy manner and Bill Sienkiewicz for the mastery of the stroke.
IRMA: You are known for your cinematographic style. Using the silk headscarfs made me dream of black & white movies from the early 60s.
ALESSANDRO DE BENEDETTI: Yes, in the last Mila Schön SS 18 collection the image of the woman with the scarf is a contemporary vision of Hitchcock’s 60s actresses and Nicole Kidman in Dogville by Lars von Trier.
IRMA: How do you take your ideas from the cinema into your collection?
ALESSANDRO DE BENEDETTI: The cinematic references are constant and present throughout my work. Each look and each garment is ideally worn into a screenplay, dresses are characters that match existing or imaginary actors. Eventually, the result is underlined by naming each single collection outfit with names from suggestive actresses or films.
IRMA: Which place on earth inspires you the most?
ALESSANDRO DE BENEDETTI: The great Baltic towns.
IRMA: How do you incorporate sustainability in your collection at Mila Schön?
ALESSANDRO DE BENEDETTI: The whole collection project was born from the concept of the recovery of small businesses and handicrafts in the Milanese hinterland. High-quality clothing in pure materials coming from exclusively Italian realities, controlled and certified originally, with respect to the environment.
IRMA: How do you find balance between simplicity and detail?
ALESSANDRO DE BENEDETTI: Volume and material become important through a single detail or element, as my mother taught me.
IRMA: Which adjectives first come to your mind when thinking of a women’s collection?
ALESSANDRO DE BENEDETTI: Sinuous and moving beyond its own body, enveloping and sensual with a small touch of gentle austerity.