Above, Delfina and Marco took a boat trip down the River Tiber and conversed over a pre-dinner cocktail.
Delfina Delettrez launched her cult jewellery brand in 2007. The daughter of Silvia Venturini Fendi, she met de Vicenzo when he was working at the Fendi studio as Venturini Fendi’s assistant.
After working at Fendi for 13 years, Marco de Vincenzo launched his own label in Paris in 2009. A winner of Vogue Italia’s talent competition, Who Is On Next?, de Vincenzo has been fast gaining acclaim, and this autumn, he introduces his first menswear collection.
Marco de Vincenzo Being on this boat as we approach the bridge of Castel Sant’Angelo, surrounded by wonderful light, the vegetation on the banks is so thick that we cannot see the city, it’s like watching the grandeur of Rome from another perspective – from below. Above us there is chaos, but it’s so tranquil here. I am often asked about working in fashion and living in Rome. I must say that the feeling I have is like this: fashion is chaos above its banks, but to live in Rome is to keep the chaos at a distance.
Delfina Delettrez It’s true, above us there is the Roman traffic, but here is my tranquil place. I really like observing our city from a new point of view. Working in fashion and living in Rome at the same time is a bit like being in an incubator. I always say that to be in Rome for a day is like staying three days in another city. I really think that living here means being able to reflect on what you are doing. It’s a way to be clear with yourself and get straight to the heart of things. The colour and scent of the mint in this cocktail takes me back in time and reminds me of my roots.
Hugo cocktail:30ml Elderflower cordial70ml Prosecco20ml Sparkling waterA handful of fresh mintIce
MDV It’s true. The mint in the glass has a beautiful colour; it looks like a smaller version of the treetops surrounding the river banks. I love being surrounded by colour – drinking and eating “colour”. It is eight in the evening and I’m more in the mood for a drink like this – made with mint, lime and cinnamon – than food. Being Sicilian and living in Rome for so many years, I prefer strong, bold food flavours. If there was a direct line to my house in Messina, it would be difficult to say no to a plate of pasta alla Norma [pasta with tomato, fried eggplant, ricotta].
DD I don’t like having food routines. I prefer to eat outside in a typical Roman trattoria. But my favourite place is Settimio al Pellegrino, a chichi restaurant where you feel like you are eating at your grandmother’s home. I have a childlike relationship with food. I eat like a baby on demand, whether it’s 10am or 4pm or midnight – I eat when I’m hungry. And I love everything crunchy – seeds, pistachios. I like things that make a noise. But I’m a disaster in the kitchen. When my daughter realises that it’s Sunday and I’ll be cooking, she looks scared because when I cook I fixate on the detail and aesthetics rather than the flavour of the food. Usually I start with a colour and try to mix the shades. If I had to identify myself in a role in the kitchen I would be the person who finishes the dishes and decorates them.
MDV I’m also terrible at cooking, although I really like to watch those who can. In the meantime, I could eat a plate of meatballs and sauce every day.
DD Working around the idea of Made in Italy, traceability is fundamental nowadays. It’s the best guarantee thanks to its strict rules and control. Made in Italy and impeccable craftsmanship are the essence of hard work – it’s like crafting the fossils of our time. Understanding where something is made, why, when, by whom and how is increasingly important. It introduces the customer to the value of items. I think that more and more people are attracted to authenticity and the silent power of quality and craft. And I think that this is a reaction to the artificial era we are living in; technologies advance at such speed that it’s beyond our control – they can make us feel spaced out, even if we pretend that we have control over them. Craft reassures us, it infuses the object with humanity. You recognise that the product has been created for a person, not just for the market, so it’s a more direct relationship. I have embraced the Made in Italy programme from the beginning. All my products are 100% made in Italy, more specifically in Rome. I will never change this because design, quality and comfort are what makes a piece special.
MDV Yes, Made in Italy is about the savoir-faire that the whole world envies. Soon, the average luxury consumer will have been born 15 years ago so the only way they will be able to distinguish Made in Italy products from everything else will be the combination of craft techniques and technology. I like to think that in 40 years time, the fashion collector will have a closet full of clothes and feel the same emotions that we feel when we see the wardrobe of a lady who has lived in the 1960s and kept her Pierre Cardin or Courrèges.
DD Artisans possess specific skills and use techniques that have been handed down for generations. My craftsmen often work behind curtains because they do not want to be seen or to reveal their working techniques.
MDV You know, I always make time to personally meet all the craftsmen and their families. Sometimes they have continued the work of fabric or embroidery for over 100 years. It’s nice to see the passing of tradition throughout the generations and the need to forge links between past and future.
DD Travelling and getting to know new aesthetics and traditions is what opens my mind to new ideas. I don’t find ideas by sketching at night, I am more practical. I go to antique furniture shops; I look at objects, vases and Italian 1950s furniture to get inspired. But ideas are very rude, they always come in late, and you never meet them where you are supposed to! I’m currently working on my next collection for October to be presented at Almine Rech Gallery in Paris. I usually create site-specific installations that meld with the jewellery itself. I think this comes from a need to challenge myself more and more; I seek to build universes that the viewer can immerse themselves in. What are you working on?
MDV I’m working on my spring/summer 2017 collection, which will showcase my first ideas for men. I don’t know what will happen with it, but I’m excited to see. Most of the time when working on a collection I have a story in mind, but the end result always surprises me because it often differs from the original idea. §