Sara Cavazza: Genny’s Genius
Genny has long been known as one of the original Italian fashion powerhouses. It has nurtured the talents of designers such as Claude Montana, Dolce & Gabbana and Christian Lacroix and was once even under the creative reign of Gianni Versace. Its distinct brand of elegant femininity has now come to include the accolade of conscientious sustainability, making Genny a label debunking tradition and paving a way for the future. e brand’s current renaissance is the work of Sara Cavazza, who was appointed Artistic Director in 2013. Her drive and passion has seen her merge Genny’s heritage with contemporary design and marry custom with innovation.
A version of this exclusive interview first appeared in the pages of the 13th issue of ODDA Magazine.
What does the brand Genny represent to you?
In my view, Genny is the very essence of the Made in Italy. That means a timeless elegance where the artisan and sartorial passion combines with a contemporary and trendy taste and with the quality of raw materials used which always make the difference. Genny has written an important chapter of the history of Italian fashion enhancing, in the timeless collections, the Italian savoir faire which makes it famous all over the world.
As artistic director of the brand, how important is the brand’s heritage in establishing its future?
The essence of Genny concentrates in its signature the feminine charm and seduction which becomes, in the 21st century, an authentic privilege, able to characterized the woman in sync with the transformations of society and the change of her role over time. Everything is balanced by simplicity to create a true femininity proven by the garments of the maison.
This inexhaustible heritage which characterized the signature of the brand is still being further developed with contemporary garments with clean lines, able to enhance the exclusive craftsmanship of cuts and the attention to de- tails, in an ongoing dialogue with femininity which mixes classic elements with modern fabrics, among lighting and printing effects.
What does it mean to continue the brand heritage after the Arnaldo and Donatella Girombelli, and also Gianni Versace’s direction?
For me, it was a great honor to be chosen as Artistic Director of a maison that has made of contemporary femininity its signature over the years. Thanks to the contribution of top designers which enhance the timeless elegance and the vision up with the times.
I was extremely grateful and excited at the same time for a new role in which it was necessary to make a new contribution while keeping in mind the style of the brand over the years, the same authentic femininity and the contemporaneity of details.
It is a challenge and a privilege that I carried out with passion and awareness of such a privilege: an important and exciting privilege, because it pushes me to look forward without losing sight of the philosophy of the brand by giving it the right amount of lifeblood.
Does the Genny brand have a muse?
Muses are continually changing on the basis of many variables, but woman for Genny is always a muse for herself, for what she represents, for being a genuine woman, always true to herself, not able to conform but proud to be unique.
Could you describe a typical day for you working at Genny?
Organization and flexibility are the basis of my life: this means that the proper importance is given to work and family. Let me stress that, before being a professional, I am a mother and a wife and the family is the still point of my success. By the time of the year, I deal with different occupations. Nevertheless, everything is rationally divided to ensure that the institutional role does not absorb the human role.
Where do you find inspiration for the brand direction?
There is not a particular inspiration: at a creative stage, I usually give carte blanche to suggestions that catch my eye. They can come from a journey, a book, music or a female character with a big personality.
Sometimes, I follow the feelings that come from a country visited, from the identity of a woman of the past, from the art movements that I discover and that leave a trace. Everything just sits and at the right time join together to create the main inspiration of the new collection. To this, I join the character of the modern woman – strong, contemporary, determined and always extremely feminine – always different and authentic at the same time.
Does Genny have an archive of its past collections?
Of course, we have a huge archive which holds the closely guarded garments that have made the history of the brand. They always remind us the great privilege we have to continue to create fashion following an eternal tradition which is rich in life and challenges.
How has the Italian culture and its values had an affect on the brand in the past and in the present?
In Genny, there are all those values that contribute to create the most authentic Made in Italy: timeless elegance, femininity and contemporaneity, where details of the past dialogue with inputs of the future. Everything is written following a virtuous aesthetic of clean lines, perfect cuts, meticulous attention to details, precious and bright textures, unusual color palettes.
Genny continues to pursue a cultural and emotional background achieved through collections able to emphasize the best of the Italian heritage and make the brand always available to women from all over the world and of all ages.
The maison now promises a “responsible luxury.” What does it mean for the brand?
The concept of responsible luxury comes to life from an ethical consciousness and sustainability. That means that Genny creates luxurious garments which do not forget reality, by using a manufacturing process with a low environmental impact and moved by a pure creative art. In this way, the consumer is aware of the value of the garment he is buying. This means a Made in Italy production which gives priority to creativity, environment- friendliness and workers condition. The style is ever more a matter of ethics, as well as aesthetic, and this new productive process is what makes me more proud.
The brand was launched in one of the most radical decades of the 21st century. Did the spirit and the counter-culture of the 60s affect Genny’s project?
Genny has always filtered the values of each times by mixing them with the genuine essence of femininity which ts a true and real model of an authentic woman. It is a woman who lives everyday life in which she has to be able to establish herself without losing the truest character of her spirit. It is a woman who feels always like herself and was able to enhance her nature over time by wearing Genny collections.
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