Tommaso Cecchi De' Rossi's sculpture-bags
A perfect union between tradition and technology
Stylist? Not really. Fashion designer? Not even.
Finding a specific name for this Tuscany young creative man is not obvious. It's in part for his background not in fashion; in part for the way that he works on his bags: Tommaso is nearer to some local Renaissance's artists, than to the model of a couturier tout court. His work is more shaping than drawing, and it means that he uses to give form to a row mould passing through several handcraft processes, from the materials selection, to the manufacturing and colouring of the bags; these aspects define each piece like an unicum, according to the best atelier practice.
The Cecchi de' Rossi bags born from the perfect union between tradition and technology and for this reason they look like particular objects out of time. Materials and coloration are patented by Tommaso himself, graduated in Agriculture and grown up in this part of Tuscany where the beauty joins the aesthetic suggestions of the nature. But the work of Tommaso is not about the popular idea of Belpaese: the consciousness of what Tuscany represent all over the world, which are the characteristics that people keep well in mind when they think about Tuscany, even if is still present in Tommaso's work, at the same time it's subtended. The wine, the high quality of leather, the rustic and polished beauty of the landscape, the affability and craftsmanship of the artisans: together all these elements become the secret driving force of a new language which passes by fashion and achieves the contemporary style.
We meet Tommaso during the Paris Fashion Week P/E 2014, in his showroom in the middle of the Marais, the Parisian fashion district, the petit Medieval village where the fashion trends are spread all over the world. The location for the Cecchi de' Rossi bags, is definitely really original: it's an antique gallery where the different bags, pochette and luggage, fit magnificently with the other exposed relics, at the same time standing out and combining perfectly with the unique and particular environment of such a Cabinet de Curiosités.
Firstly, Tommaso points out how the choice of that extravagant location avoids an aseptic exposition, allowing instead a dialogue between the bags and the contest where they are integrated. The leather in fact is mixed up with many others materials and objects already here, and his "wearable sculptures" are in straight relation with the remains of other places and other ages. His work is far away from the classical idea of the object/accessory, is not just a simple "ornament" for the dress. The bags seem to live autonomously, they envelop the body and get a sort of osmosis with it; or they play with the idea of augmenting the body, modifying its shapes and allowing more comfortable movements.
The concept more connected to this innate relation with the human body is the ones called Morphic. It includes bags in pleated leather, to dress as a backpack, a handbag or shoulderbag. Extensible, stretchy and foldable, they remind to a female womb, shaping themselves on the body and defining a kind of post-human, hyper-functional aesthetic. The work of Cecchi de' Rossi is a deep study from the body to the environment and their relation; and this consciousness become a process defined by care and attention that is possible to recognize in every wrinkle and nuance of his bags. And just in the moment that he's going to show and explain them, it's clear the kind of work that he does by himself, the time and passion used, the diligence for each product.
One of the first thing that he want to point out is the fact that until now there are not really a/w and s/s collections but new models that are elaborated - or refined - between the seasons. This particular issue is important for two reasons: first, in that way he hasn't the risk to be absorbed in a kind of a productive system that grasps creative ideas without giving them the right time to be developed and contextualized. Second, the choice of staying out from the "seasonal deadlines" gives to these products the value of timeless objects, transcending the present for being inspired by the past and linking to the future.
By the way, that's true as well that in occasion of the Parisian showroom, he followed thematic lines not really far from the parameters allowing to a collection to materialize itself. Emotions_SS14 comes out from the study of emotions and moods - like tender, serenity, desire, will - which inspiring the realization of this collection, the shapes of the bags and their inner nature (which is captured and expressed by the beautiful photos of the SS14 campaign, realized by Leonard Gomes-Ferenczi. It means that each lines of this collection becomes the expression of a particular feeling, of a specific elan vital revealing itself through cuts and fabrics, colours and leather.
And innovative materials, too, like the washable paper, belong to Tenderness line: bags with feminine appeal, lightweight and resistant, mid blue coloured and with squared form. They stand out by their original texture and also for the spring system present in the handles, elaborated from the specific weight and the oscillation of the bag during the movement, guarantying much more comfort. Or Deseo: the line realized with treated straw, with some removable parts in leather and a decomposable central body. With their system of laces and zippers, they can be defined as de-structered bags, where the zip - presented also in the last collections of Junya Watanabe and Givenchy - comes to the fore, transforming itself from a simple industrial element to becoming a peculiarity of a new couture, mixing punk with neogrunge. Together they define a rebel and charming elegance, which is explained thank giving to the customer the possibility to be an active agent on the final product, to play with the volumes and the shapes, to re-model the bags upon his needs.
But the main element in the Cecchi de' Rossi's work - the one that identifies it above all - is still the leather. The use of high quality hides like deer, horse and veal; the tanning tradition of his home place; the special dyeing made by wine's residuals... all of these features make his leather bags precious objects, thanks for their particular refinement and the extreme attention to the details.
And so on, we have the Luxury line, a series of luggage like leather monoliths, in different dimensions and colours. Their distinctive trait is having no others inner structure or framework but the leather itself. Simple, minimal and classic design - sculptures having unwritten stories and untaken trips yet. As well, there are the bags of the Shopper line, essential and geometric, obtained from a unique piece of leather, seamless and without added layers. There is the biggest and the most beautiful one, hanged up with a hook in front of the mirror: it seems to attend of sliding on a shoulder, for enveloping the chest and enriching the figure.
The Parisian atelier of Cecchi de' Rossi becomes a sort of trip inside another world, the one that come out from his work, from their smell - of ancient craft and new life - from the colours of the ground, converted in different palettes of soft shade. Out of the showroom, there it is the multitude of designer and couturier come a Paris for the Fashion week. Between them Tommaso stands out with his mix of spontaneity and determination; and also thanks to a particular talent that allowed him, just after three years of the brand, to have a wide success of people and colleagues.
And that's just the beginning.
Article by Giulia Tonucci
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