An Italian Affair

Second year CSM menswear fashion students were asked to combine British tailoring and Italian fabrics to make one outfit inspired by 1960s' Italian cinema.

Text by Susie Bubble

What started as a sourcing trip for Christopher New, the Central Saint Martins menswear tutor ended up as an irresistible brief for the second year menswear students on the CSM fashion BA course. New visited mills in Northern Italy with the help of the Italian textile associations and the Italian Trade Commission to investigate the fabrics that go into fine woolen suiting, shirting jacketing and luxury linings. These mills then donated selected fabrics to the CSM students to create one tailored outfit. A very specific inspiration brief was given; the style period of 1960s' in Britain when there was a fascination with Italianate style especially in menswear. Students were also asked to use films like Fellini's La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2, Visconti's Rocco and his Brothers and Antonioni's L'Avventura as the starting point for their British-Italian fused creations. What was already a detailed brief is made even more complex when students have to consider the finer details of the outfit; linings, pockets and all the components that make menswear a subtle guessing game.

The outfits were presented last Thursday at CSM's Southampton Row base and three students were awarded prizes by a judging panel of Francesca Serafine (Deputy Directory of the Italian Trade Commission), Andrew Davis (former editor of Arena) and Christopher New. Hampus Beggren and Pavel An were runners up and Rafael Cunha was the winner.

Pavel An
What was the inspiration behind you ensemble that you made for the project?
My main inspiration was shadows, and my starting point was La Dolce Vita, by Fellini so it's black and white. I started to play with contrast, using dark grey and grey colours, there are not that vastly different, but still it is contrast. The last scene of La Dolce Vita was my main inspiration. It's the man sitting on the beach wearing a white jacket with black shirt and black tie. Looking at this picture I was thinking about colours and so I tried to add some colours like yellow and blue.

Were you familiar with Italian cinema beforehand?
I've seen all the movies, my favorite was La Dolce Vita!

Describe your design aestethic/style.
My design style is simple. I am using simple shapes, but I'm trying to pay more attention to details, such as cuffs, sleeves, lapels. Also i believe in colours- very strong colours!

Hampus Beggren
What was the inspiration behind you ensemble that you made for the project?
My inspiration grew from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a space odyssey. Strong elements of futurism mixed with suits from British tailor Hardy Amies. Within the film, I looked at the shapes of the interior design and the space suits. Repetition became a re occurring theme and 60’s architecture and optic art by Bridget Riley inspired my look forward. This became visual through graphic panels, magnet fastenings, and padding.

Were you familiar with Italian cinema beforehand?
I had seen a a few Fellini films before but I was really excited to see more. Cinema from the 1960 has an amazing eccentric and dreamy aesthetic that I find very inspiring.

Describe your design aestethic/style.
I see opportunities of change and innovation in menswear, and I would like my work to reflect that. I strongly believe in great attention to detail, as well as developing interesting silhouettes and shapes. I enjoy playing with weight and drape in different ways and pushing the relationship between structure and the loose.

Rafael Cunha
What was the inspiration behind you ensemble that you made for the project?
The project was inspired by priests and the code behind the way that they dress, from this point, I had to develop a character, so I decided to tell a history about this man that finds himself questioning his beliefs, becoming a person in freefall, almost. That’s when I discovered the works of Ernest Trova (Falling Man) which has a huge influence in terms of construction and colour on my garment.

Were you familiar with Italian cinema beforehand?
Yes. Both ,Fellini's, La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 had a really important role on the main inspiration as the Catholic church, and priests references were always represented in some sort of secondary but no less important role in his movies. The ecclesiastical parade is one of my favourite scenes.

Describe your design aesthetic/style.
I experiment a lot with proportions and volumes, and have studied graphic design prior to this course, so I would say there is a strong graphic consideration in my work. The geometry and colour palate of Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica is a recurring inspiration in my designs. And the seaside that I miss back home.

Creative Direction: Rob Meyers, Photography: Pelle Crepin, Photography Assistant: Joanna Paterson, Styling: Carolyne Rapp, Styling Assistant: Santa, Hair & Make-Up: Xabier Celaya, Models: Josh Biteli at D1, Chris Tanner at Premier, Jamie Cockerill at Premier

Pavel An

Rafael Cuhna


Ana Londono

Do Young Kim

Daisuke Suzuki

Suzi Gardner

So Huang

Sarah Dean

Josh Bullen

Lisandro Olmos

Ivan Nunes Junior

Kopi Akasaka

Camilla Doig Lorentzen

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