From Sicily to Florence – the Journey of a Couture Designer

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From Sicily to Florence – the Journey of a Couture Designer

When you walk into Sartoria Tiziana Alemanni, one of the first details you notice is the smell of fresh Jasmine that permeates the studio. A cool reprieve from the hot Florentine streets, just around the corner from the Palazzo Pitti, Tiziana Alemanni’s couturier offers unique, exquisitely crafted pieces for both special occasions and everyday wear. The designer was kind enough to take the time to not only show us her studio, but to also answer questions about her work.


1) You said that your passion started in your family business – can you tell us more about your family business, and why you chose to pursue haute couture?

My parents, Maria Palma Natoli and Alemanni Vincenzo, began to work on knitwear in Sicily, in Capo d’Orlando in 1970. It was a family run business and we four children contributed to the growth of the company since [we were] very young. It was commonplace at the time to play with the fabrics and among the knitwear machines, [and] to help the parents, we ended up to be entirely involved in the whole process…

It became natural for us to acquire all of their experiences learned through many sacrifices, renunciation, joy and satisfaction. We used to come to Florence every year to complete our Knitwear pieces, with the dyeing, printing and embroidering. All of the above gave me the strength and will to continue with the Haute Couture business as a natural consequence. I desired to grow professionally and to see the woman in all her beauty completed by a good sartorial dress for the streets of the world.

2) You learned a lot about the creation of fashion and haute couture from your family, but were you instructed otherwise? Or did you learn everything from your family?

My parents taught me everything through work, and I am grateful to them, perhaps the more important values, which [are] the sense of sacrifice, dedication, tenacity, humility and nobility of work, necessary and fundamental to achieve any objective.

All the rest happened spontaneously and through my passion, and this too is fundamental!


3) Why do you live and work in Florence, and not closer to Sicily? Has Florence become a source of inspiration for you?

In 2011 I decided to open a Sartoria in Florence for various reasons. The most important, I noticed, [was] that my type of profession was at risk of disappearing. Therefore I chose to come to Florence where fashion, fabrics, weaving and knitwear have been most recognised historically.

My prevailing source of inspiration is “Diversity.” Perhaps I owe this to my roots, I am Sicilian therefore my Mediterranean vision is manifested in my collections.

4) Do you believe that your family will continue to create fashion for many more years?

At the present I am concentrating on my Sartoria in Florence. The fabric [and] yarn is produced in Sicily and then transformed by the design team in Florence.

I hope my dream and business it is also shared by my siblings, so that a knitwear store can be opened in Capo d’Orlando, where it all began. This will give continuity to my parent’s work for another forty years.


5) What does haute couture mean for you?

Thank you for this very interesting question.

Today the woman lives very differently compared to ten years ago. I think that couture ought to be worn daily, I consider couture a piece realized with noble fibers, like silk, alpaca, mohair, and all the natural fibers. I consider couture a good design with an excellent wearability – a garment a woman could invest in and wear throughout the day and for different occasions.


6) You wrote that one of your passions is to interpret through fabric different eras in fashion and their costumes through a contemporary view, and that you are inspired by the nature and the history of Sicily. Are you inspired by other things, such as art, music, or others?

All of my experience[s] influence me, above all nature and architecture.

7) What are the differences between your work in couture and ready-to-wear? What are the similarities?

Like I said before, I look to wear couture daily. My choices for Haute Couture are inescapable from the quality of the fabric and the quality of the manufacturer; these are the cornerstones of my brand and of my persona.

The ready-to- wear collection is simplified in cut and style, deconstructed pieces that take the shape of the body with an average price.

In the couture pieces, my search in the cut and the style is greater, resulting in a high-end product and ultimately price.

8) Do you have a certain woman in mind for your creations? What would be your ideal situation or person to design for?

I love dressing the woman with personality and sensibility.

9) Do you have someone who inspires your work the most?

The big names in fashion inspire me, the Fontana sisters, Dior, and Mademoiselle Chanel.


10) In fashion, the silhouette is the most important aspect for many artists. In a moment when the form nearly without shape is the normal, you use strong and romantic shapes. Can you see an evolution in the silhouettes of your work, or have you focused on another type of evolution?

I observe the Occidental and Oriental fashions and costumes, also from the anthropological point of view. I personally like to glimpse the body lines through the garment, I find more elegant and feminine.  I think that fashion also creates a lot of vulgarity, and in consequence creates confusion between the roles of men vs women.

11) You recently participated in a program with Sino Italian Design Exchange Centre – what was the purpose of the exhibition?

To know Italian designers, and I have been chosen especially for the Theatrical Couture Clothing.

12) What do you feel has been a major highlight of your career so far?

To make my customers happy through a great dress.

13) You have a photo on your website of a chiffon suit, it is filed under ‘limited edition’ in spring/summer. It’s an exceptional piece – what was your inspiration behind it, and why is it only ‘limited edition?’

I have some items in my collection that are unique, therefore not repeatable.

14) What will we see from you in the coming months and years?

Colour, harmony, lightness.

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From Sicily to Florence – the Journey of a Couture Designer


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Written by Lillie Peterson

Lillie is a graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's in Classics and a lifelong fascination for fashion and art. A freelance writer and artist, her hobbies include photography, design, drawing and blogging.

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