Words Alessandra Albarello
Fede Cheti's textile creations have inspired a line of eyewear created by designer Alessia Fugazzola, the current owner of the brand
Who was Fede Cheti, and when did your paths cross?
Maison fede Cheti has its roots in the effervescent Milanese design scene of the 1930s. fede Cheti's distinctive style quickly established itself on an international scale, her precious textile creations representing the stylistic evolution of made-in-Italy interior design. fede Cheti established fruitful collaborations with numerous artists, architects, painters – Gio Ponti, A. Bianconi, R. Peynet, R. Dufy, and also with the illustrator Gruau – displaying her collections in solo and group exhibitions in major cities around the world, including new york where she opened her own shop in 1961. In Milan, however, she was the star of several exhibitions at the Triennale, where her carpets, curtains and textiles were recognised as outstanding examples of the synergy between art and artisanship. Our decision to acquire and breathe new life into this prestigious and storied Italian brand stems from our passion for art, beauty and attention to detail, all of which have long made this brand unique on the international scene.
How did you come up with the idea of transferring the brand's heritage into an eyewear line?
My personal experience as a lifelong wearer of glasses, which I have always used, loved and collected with passion since I was a child, was fundamental. As I grew up, it seemed natural to enrich the fede Cheti portfolio by launching and producing an exclusive eyewear line that would unite my personal taste and skills as a designer and wearer with the Maison's artistic heritage. The idea stems from the conviction that Fede Cheti's stylistic features represent a unique value, capable of winning over the most discerning and sophisticated public particularly interested in the originality and strong artistic component of exclusive, yet comfortable and functional, optical frames and sunglasses collections. Design objects developed to highlight the wearer's personality, as well as to overcome visual impairments.
How is the new collection structured? What are the main elements characterizing the various models and establishing an immediate visual link with the brand's identity?
The new collection brings together numerous elements. Cinematic inspirations influenced by certain iconic shapes typical of the 50s/70s are combined with modern materials at the cutting edge of quality and sustainability. The visual connection with the brand identity is dictated by precise references to the classic stylistic elements of the fede Cheti artistic universe, to be found in our historical archive.
What is the scope of the archive you draw on and how important is it for you to have such a heritage from the past to reinvigorate in contemporary projects?
Fede Cheti's historical archive is indeed a fundamental heritage for us and its richness constitutes an extraordinary source of inspiration in terms of shapes, colours, distinctive traits and the stylistic and cultural mixes stemming from brilliant collaborations with renowned artists in international contexts. Bringing together a focus on the contemporary and the historical legacy is an exciting challenge, a delicate balance that all creators pursue when they have the honour of working in harmony and continuity with a historic fashion and design brand.
Art, artisanship and innovation are a triad that makes up the 'weave' of Fede Cheti's textile work. How did you manage to translate these concepts into eyewear in a material and tactile way?
I have to admit that it is a wonderful and ever-changing experience. To this end, we have been very careful to select an outstanding group of collaborators, bringing together skills that are complementary, yet very different, to cover all the necessary processes in a comprehensive manner. Together we are able to transform our ideas and inspirations into valuable, comfortable, functional and, above all, useful design objects that are environmentally friendly and are entirely handcrafted in accordance with long-standing Italian tradition. I am especially happy when people who use my glasses write to tell me that they are so happy wearing them that they forget to take them off before going to sleep!
Future plans and projects?
We have numerous projects in the pipeline, both in terms of new models to be made with acetate sheets inspired by the designs which gruau created exclusively for fede Cheti and also in terms of participating in trade initiatives in Italy and abroad. We are very excited about the resumption of live in-person events this year and we hope this will allow us to start sharing our new creations face-to-face with our partners and our audience once again.
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