Indigo Icons: Stefano Chiassai gives denim the sartorial treatment

Fascinated by denim from an early age, Stefano Chiassai experienced the denim explosion in Italy in the 1980s up close. So much so that he decided to create his own style consultancy in 1985, “Studio Chiassai”, with his wife and collaborator Alessandra Chiassai. Over the years, the studio has collected approximately 15,000 vintage garments and accessories, leading to the creation of “TheCube Archive”, an incredibly rich fashion library.

Designer of Fendi Uomo since 2009, Stefano likes to tell stories with clothes and has already published two books assembling and mixing clothes from different eras: “CaosOrdinato” and “RitmoEmotivo”.

The third book, entitled “BlueTailoring”, tells the story of a high-end denim collection that will be featured in an installation at the upcoming Denim PV show on May 31 and June 1 in Berlin.

Find out more on the BlueTailoring project →

Interview with Stefano Chiassai, Founder & Creative Director at Studio Chiassai

Première Vision: How did you develop your passion for denim?

Stefano Chiassai: “It was born a long time ago, when my brother had clothing stores in the 1970’s. I was very young and was already very attentive to what was happening in the fashion world. Precisely in those years I experienced the explosion of jeans in Italy: Levi’s, Sisley, Spitfire, Lee, Wrangler as well as the first Italian brands such as Fiorucci and Roy Rogers. In the early ‘80s I began my career as a fashion designer and in Italy the first denim companies began to appear and their brands, Americanino, Charro, Diesel, began to explode. At that time the Closed brand, the first Italian Fashion jeans, was very popular, which was characterized by model variations such as the traditional 5-pocket, as well as having the legendary stone washed look. 

In 1984 I had the opportunity to visit the company that produced Closed, owned by the legendary and visionary Aldo Ciavatta, already a leader in the denim world for years. On that occasion I was lucky enough to see the two young French designers at work, named Marithé Francois Girbaud. 

I was fascinated by that experience that stayed with me and that motivated me to delve into the world of denim, until after various experiences in 1999 I became creative director of the “Sixty Uomo” brand for 10 years until 2009.

I experienced moments of great experimentation and I began to mix jeans with the world of tailoring. In fact, Sixty Uomo had the total look in its DNA and jeans were not only 5 pockets jeans but in many variations, they were presented dark, washed, broken, sewn up, mended, bleached but then always strictly with the jacket, white shirt and tight tie.”

PV: What characterizes Studio Chiassai’s approach to creation?

Stefano Chiassai: “My Studio was born in 1985/86 together with my wife and close collaborator Alessandra Chiassai, in those years as well as doing many consultancies we had our own line, called “Stefano Chiassai”. The studio underwent transformations and adaptations over the years, and we have always been very attentive to changes in the market and always ready to renew our way of working. At the base is our “WORK-LIFE” and the Research that has always been our obsession, at any time; work or vacation. Traveling around the world to get to know different cultures, being among people on the street, in flea markets, discos, airports, leaving with one suitcase and returning with four suitcases… Buying used clothing, books, designer objects, various trinkets and anything that stimulated our creativity helped us to have a very open and visionary mind that has led us to today, overcoming all the crises of the 2000s. 

Continuous research has allowed us to collect around 15,000 vintage garments and accessories, which today have become, in addition to the daily library of our studio, a visitable archive called “TheCube Archive”. 

My daughter Corinna Chiassai and her husband Marius Hordijk welcome designers, universities, fabric technicians, fashion schools, musicians, who do their own research, or school activities. 

Today 14 people work in our studio, which is managed by Corinna. We are a very close-knit team full of energy and with their support I have been the designer of Fendi Uomo since 2009.”

“Denim is a fabric that has taken me on many of my creative paths in those 40 years of work. Denim has always been a source of curiosity for me and a material that has always stimulated me a lot.”

– Stefano Chiassai

PV: What motivated the publication of your book BlueTailoring? 

Stefano Chiassai: “Having worked with important leading companies in the Jeans Sector has allowed me to deepen my knowledge and its history … the various types of washing, the stitching, the leather backings, the rivets, the Nail Button … the construction of fabrics and its finishes. Denim also speaks to our imagination, it speaks of 5 Pockets, workwear, jackets, historical garments, indestructible and ready to be consumed by time and work… Stained, unstitched, increasingly lighter in color due to the continuous washing and the lightening of the indigo given by wear. This led to an idea: why not move the light that usually shine on denim in the workwear world, to another direction? Why not move the light in an opposite direction, bringing it to the world of Tailoring and Luxury?

It’s at this point that the meeting with Berto was important. Leader in the world of denim since 1887, this Italian company led by Flavio Berto was available to supply me with many types of denim, allowing me to make it a “multipurpose” fabric and mix it with other fabrics and materials and conceive it in a completely different way. We made it different, unusual, multifaceted, unique and different from all the work that has been done on it before. Embroideries, lasers, prints, heat-sealed taping, needle punching, sewing with ultrasounds, with hand-tailored stitches, with AMF stitching, mixed with other materials such as leather, sheepskin, plain and patterned drapery wool, poplin, fleece, jersey, organza…

Contamination and experimentation, two key words that are part of our “Working-Creative” DNA, which go beyond the beautiful and the ugly, the right and the wrong, and which lead us to the word “Modernity”… 

BlueTailoring is a new menswear closet where all the garments talk about denim and… something else with constructed jackets, trench coats, dusters, overcoats, “tailored” jackets… with unusual and experimental shapes and cuts, enriched by special buttons and with interiors studied and embellished with details of sartorial taste.

It’s a new way to read this special fabric to make it “BlueTailoring”… “It’s what you don’t think it is”.

PV: Finally, what are we going to see on your installation during the next Denim PV show in Berlin and what would you like visitors to remember from this edition?

Stefano Chiassai: “In the installation I would like to highlight what I wrote above, to show denim in a more sartorial and less casual light. Exalt the manual processes, the technological processes where denim becomes “The Fabric” when enriched becomes multipurpose and suitable for any occasion of the day and even in the evening. I would like to show an installation linked to an imaginary where Fashion and Art meet, where the ephemeral of our world disappears a bit and we get closer to a more cultural and studied fashion.”

Join us on May 31 & June 1 at Denim Première Vision Berlin to meet with Stefano in person, discover her most iconic pieces and enjoy a deep dive into the world of denim!

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