Giulietta designer Sofia Sizzi embodies many of the qualities of the women she designs for. She is decidedly feminine, often with a touch of red on the lips and usually wearing the polished, figure-flattering clothes that are the backbone of her collections. At the same time she is also unabashedly confident, a trait that certainly comes through in her strong designs, like the bold shoes that are not only eye-catching but 100% vegan.
Though she now works from downtown Manhattan, Sizzi is originally from Florence. Her Italian dolce vita roots perfectly complement her contemporary New York aesthetic. The result of this combo? Quietly nostalgic collections that conjure up decades past but with an appeal to today's working woman. Before launching Giulietta in 2011, Sizzi worked as design director for big names that include Gucci, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein. Her impressive background is evident in the Italian techniques she employs in creating her high-quality collections. We chatted to the very busy designer while she prepped for her Spring 2013 New York fashion week presentation.
Tell us about what you were doing prior to starting your own label? Sofia Sizzi: For the first part of my career I have been an accessories designer and was lucky to collaborate with some of the greatest names in Italian and American fashion.
How and why did you start Giulietta? I started Giulietta two years ago and it’s based on the idea of a nostalgic character that lives in my fantasy, which gathers all those incredible qualities of the women who have inspired me through the years.
Where does the name come from? It’s my mother’s nickname.
You are Italian but have lived a long time in New York, how do both places influence you? Italy is where I draw my inspiration; New York is where I reinterpret it in an intricate and modern way.
What were some of the obstacles you faced when going out on your own? To be able to fund the launch of a new collection has been the biggest struggle.
Has there been a moment where you felt you had made it or just really proud? Well, my first runway show was an incredible moment of emotion and pride, as it was being announced as one of the ten finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. I still can’t believe it!
You make some amazing shoes- Tell us about how they fit into your collections. I was always a shoe designer so it feels natural for me to complete the look with our shoes.
Who is the Giulietta woman? She’s modern but nostalgic, aware of her sensuality but without the need to reveal too much.
What women inspire you? Do you have muses? I’m inspired by many different types of women: from my mother to the Italian ladies from the south, from the beautiful girls I see everyday walking down the streets of New York to the great icons of the 60’s. To name a few of my muses: Monica Vitti, Sofia Loren, Catherine Deneuve and Veruschka.
What does style mean to you? Timeless and effortless.
Which other designers inspire you? The great French and Italian designers of the 1960’s: Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy and Valentino Garavani.
What is on your moodboard for your Spring ’13 collection? Peggy Guggenheim.
How do you sum up your own style philosophy? Ironic, nostalgic, modern.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? A painter probably!