Arcangela Aiello’s first fell in love with fashion when she was just a little girl. Whenever she could, she loved to visit a local dressmaker’s studio near her home in Sicily. While most little girls would be bored and want to play outside, Arcangela was fascinated with the studio’s sketches along the wall, the vibrant colors, and the sound of those silver pointed scissors cutting into paper thin fabrics. This was her world. She did not want to just play with Barbie dolls, she wanted to design their clothes.
From that moment on, Arcangela dove into fashion. With an American mother and an Italian father, she spent most of her formative years traveling back and forth between New York and Sicily. Today, her parents’ two cultures have clearly influenced her designs. While American fashion tends to be about comfort and ease, Italian fashion is known to be glamorous and sensual with enormous attention to detail. Indeed, Arcangela’s designs embody both; her clothes are eloquent and glamorous while distinctively understated.
Today, Arcangela is all grown up. The vision she had as a child to become a designer has turned into a reality. After years of study and hard work, her collections are highly coveted and have been presented in showrooms and on the runways throughout the world. A perfectionist at heart, she is meticulous in every aspect of the design process. From her sketches to her tailoring to the use of luxurious fabrics, she creates evening and bridal gowns that are perfect for today’s modern woman.
While most clothes in today’s market are mass-produced, and often just something to throw on and wear, Arcangela’s designs are of the finest quality and are meant to be experienced. They make women look and feel more beautiful. From the movie star about to go on the red carpet to that blushing bride ready to walk down the aisle, Arcangela’s dresses help women all over the world look their best for these important occasions And perhaps this alone, along the satisfaction of doing a job to the best of her abilities, has given this young, dynamic designer her greatest joy.
Gaya Lynn: Welcome to L'Italo-americano. Tell me about yourself and at what point did you want to become a designer.
Arcangela Aiello: My passion for fashion began when I was a child. I was born in New York, but my father is Italian and I was raised mainly in Italia. When I returned in Italy, I would often find myself in a small seamstress studio. One summer, it just ignited that spark. All of us, sooner or later gets struck by a color, a scent, a sound; for me, I was fascinated by the sound of the scissors cutting the material. So, growing up, I continued to pursue fashion, taking courses, learning the techniques of dressmaking including embroidery, design …The designer embodies so many roles. Not just someone who creates a design, but also one who plans and develops a collection…creating themes to relay messages….
A dress has more than just its aesthetic attributes; it can also be a powerful instrument of communication, capable of sending off a message of social significance.... including the state of social progress. With this in mind, I developed the majority of my recent collection which was inspired by my roots in Siclia. It was presented in different art galleries in New York and was entitled, “The Island to Discover: Sicily through Fashion,” created in order to let others know about this splendid area and my artistic side. My last collection was entitled, “I fiori dell’ Islam”-a collection that was shown at High Fashion Week at Rome, while relaying a message of cultural exchange. While hoping that the role of women in some of these Islamic countries would improve, I showcased the splendor of the Islamic culture…incorporating within my collection precious handmade embroidery, with minute details while maintaining that delicate balance between its multi-color and eclectic nature of art…
GL: You are Sicilian with an American mother. Regarding these two worlds, how have they influenced you?
AA: Yes, I had the fortune to have an American mother who taught me that if you believe and fight for what you want, in the end, it will materialize…In Sicilia, everything is much slower, “causalistico”, but I live in an area that is rich in its allure and art and this combined has influenced my style. Because for me, “la moda e’ arte” ( fashion is art) and this belief has been the foundation of my work as a designer. Obviously I am referring to “High Fashion.” The fashion that lives off of ideas and influences, just as any form of art. I am not speaking about “moda” that we see on the street...Fashion in this case become an experience to wear , which then becomes unique.
GL: Milano is one of the capitals of the fashion world. Do you ever think that one day la Sicilia could also become a fashion capital?
AA: I do not believe so. And for this reason, I often have to travel to other cities in Italy or abroad. In fact, my work has been shown in art galleries and in important fashion shows both nationally and internationally: New York, Dallas, New Jersey, Budapest, Bolivia, Russia, Venezuela, in Tbilisi in Georgia…I travel a lot for work. I am an acute observer and I like to infiltrate my ideas within my collection. Going back to your question, I chose la Sicilia and Catania as the fashion hub of my work; I love these cities, which are rich in sunlight, the sea, culture, while being a native home for so many artists.
GL: You have become successful during a financially difficult period for Italia. What would you say were prime reasons that you succeeded while someone fashion houses have struggled.
AA: Determination, hard work while a high level of quality. I also create exclusive designs for my clients…every dress is entirely done by hand, following in the Italian tradition of craftsmanship, using material that is of quality….lines that are studied to the smallest details while bringing about the greatest feminine touch.
GL: Looking back, tell me about your road to success? Was it a bed of roses or more one of thorns? How have you overcome your greatest obstacles?
AA: I learned from the time I was a child to always get up no matter what. Yes, there have been thorns but there were also roses..if you believe in what you do, and you dedicate yourself fully, they will always bloom beautifully.
GL: Tell me about your style. Do your clothes reflect who are you?
AA: I am a designer who unites the search for innovative materials and precious fabrics…My creations aim to enhance the beauty within every woman, for this I prefer exclusive creations. To answer your second question. Yes, I design my collection, not like many fashion houses who use interns. Being a person who is very meticulous, a lover of perfection, I apply these aspects to my work, in fact, within my collection of Alta Moda and Alta Moda Sposa, I obtain materials of the highest quality, and work with extreme care even down to the tiniest detail.
GL: Tell me about your ideal modern woman. And who are some famous women you would like to dress?
AA: An independent woman with an understated beauty and who cares about social issues. Angelina Jolie, but I also like Catherine Zeta Jones, Cameron Diaz, Keira Knightley, Halle Berry and the great Whoopi Goldberg.
GL: Fashion has changed and evolved especially within these last few years. There has been the rise of the digital world and then collapse of the economy. How have you adapted to these changes?
AA: I love challenges. And since we mentioned my mother, she has always said in the moment of financial crisis, this is exactly when one must strive to aim high…I offered personal consultations and exclusive designs to important clients. I have never lowered my standards…Soon, I will celebrate a new headquarter of my fashion house, in the historic center of Catania. It will be a Conception house (Art Fashion house) on one side, an “Atelier,” while on the other side; there will be a space for paintings, photography, sculptures, and a place to host exhibitions especially given my passion for art. A place where art and fashion are connectedr. The renovation has lasted more than three years, the frescoes restored to their former glory…
GL: You have surely worked hard to get where you are. I am certain you have had many stressful moments, but also many wonderful ones. .
AA: My creativity soars at my Studio where a client is welcomed and catered to while offering many choices [to fit their needs and wants.] From a wide selection of color, fabric… The concerns in creating a collection begins with coming up with an idea, a fantasy, then the research into finding the materials, fabrics…The difficulties? Anxiety, turmoil, frenzy but then there is what follows: the joy, satisfaction, because fortunately my creations have always been received well by both the press and the media.
Most importantly, to see these women who wear my designs and watch as they look at themselves in the mirror and see their eyes light up is a huge satisfaction. I mean that I have been able to do my work, that I have given it value. Then when I get pictures of their wedding, of their wedding parties thanking me for all the compliments they have received, these are the most beautiful moments; these are the ones that are rich and satisfying.
Many thanks to press manager, Katya Marletta.
For more go to www.arcangelaaiello.com