Francesca Liberatore has wanted to go into fashion design since, well, forever–with two parents who worked in the art world (both are professors at Italy’s Accademia di Belle Arti, and her father is a sculptor), she grew up surrounded by creative energy.
She studied at the legendary Central Saint Martins in London, followed by stints with Jean Paul Gaultier and Viktor & Rolf–not a bad start. Liberatore briefly took over Brioni womenswear before she started teaching in fashion schools as well as launching her own line. In 2009, she won the Next Generation competition from the Camera Nazionale Moda Italiana–sort of like an Italian CFDA–which helped her show her collections in Milan, thanks to partnerships with companies like Swarovski Elements.
It’s the kind of attention that should have launched Liberatore into the international eye–but she says it’s difficult without the proper support. “Italian businessmen are not so curious, brave and farsighted, to look around, searching for new talent, consciously selecting them and investing in new projects,” Liberatore tells me over email, adding that there’s “too much politics” involved.
“I think that in Italy there are a lot of great passionate professionals in this field,” she continues, “especially in know-how and creativity, but on the other side, the past generation gave too much space to connected people, mediocre [people], that brought Italian fashion into this state of ‘apathy.’”
And while Liberatore thinks that the Italian fashion scene “needs a change,” she’s more than happy to stick around and help make a difference. “I hope I can stay here because I love my Italian background, Italy, and the way Italian people can succeed,” she says.