by Elisabetta Bandolin
Italian fashion designer Elisabetta Bandolin illustrates the brilliance of simplicity, creating iconic garments that bear the dynasty of Italian fashion.
Elisabetta was born in the quaint town of Schio in the northern mountains of Italy. Her design chronology began at a young age, guided by her family’s love for design and décor.
The designer was particularly driven by the superior quality of garments created in her grandfather’s atelier. Here, Elisabetta discovered Italian design’s purity and unfeigned quality, which would greatly influence her design journey.
Elisabetta re-discovered the garments owned by her grandparents, noting the high quality that was still prevailing over 30 years later. As a woman of the 1950s, her grandmother had most of her clothing fabricated by a personal seamstress. These high-quality garments are eternally beautiful, marking a time of tailoring excellence. Not only was the construction of the garments of great value, but the designer found that these pieces were alive with the identity of her grandmother. They speak to the strength of Italian design in respect, hard work, and legacy while incarnating the memory of her grandmother. Elisabetta studied these garments and her lineage, to design fashion pieces that were constructed to perfection, visually simple but embedded with wondrous storytelling.
At the age of eighteen, Elisabetta moved to Venice to begin design school. The architectural landscape of Venice and the region’s historical culture impacted her creative language. Glass manufacturing took center stage for her designs, using the aleatory of the melted glass to inspire fluidity. This spontaneity activation the name of the collection, Panta Rei, meaning “everything flows” in Greek. Panta Rei is an ancient Greek philosophical concept by Heraclitus, comparing life to the flow of a river, in constant motion and forever changing.
Elisabetta remarks that fashion design is in constant mutation, in both a literal and metaphorical manner. Style and taste shift over time, but by the same token, perceptions alter constantly. This notion of the ever-changing is combined with her rich patronage and touch of her own hand, to fabricate the collection.
The art of tailoring is the most striking component of Elisabetta’s collection. This skill learned through her Italian heritage, and strengthened by her move to Paris, showcases the purity and perfection in each garment.
There is a hidden beauty, beyond the exterior aesthetic, one in which the emotions and the virtue of the tailor are passed into the garment. The story of the garment is transferred through the hands of the tailor, into the garment, which again shifts on the body of the wearer. Elisabetta presents her proud heritage in each of her designs, acknowledging the superior savoir-faire of Parisian fashion, whilst authentically portraying her Italian culture.
Each piece in the collection is modeled after iconic garments renovated for contemporary design. The design is simple and somewhat practical in nature, but there is beauty in this practicality.
The designer declares that there is strength in being able to see the dedication, skill, workmanship, and beauty in the structure, saluting how much thought is present in each garment. The collection embodies the thoughts of the designer, respecting the Parisian history of design, and blending it with Venetian craftsmanship.
The refined craftsmanship of glass making not only adds softness to each garment but like that of a glassblower, the designer forms the flat fabrics into magnificent structures.
The collection stands as an archive of Italian design, respecting its customs but pushing tradition into contemporary society.
The designer’s move to Paris brought great growth in her design process. Paris bestowed a three-dimensionality to her pieces, allowing for a more distanced perspective on contemporary fashion design. Elisabetta did not want to tarnish the heritage of Parisian design but rather wished to preserve it, adding her own identity to it.
This collection perfectly exhibits the designer’s research into vintage designs, flawless tailoring, and her experience in both Paris and Venice.