INTERVIEW: SILVIA CURZI OF VIC MATIE
Located in Marches, a traditionally industrial region of Italy, the Vic Matié showroom is situated in the ancient brickworks of Serra dei Conti. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Vic Matié’s creative director Silvia Curzi (pictured above) about her modern, yet timeless creations, how Italian design has inspired her, and how Vic Matié’s Serra dei Conti home came to be.
OAK: A large part of your brand identity is its faithfulness to “Made In Italy” products. Aside from the actual production, how can this influence be seen in your designs?
SILVIA CURZI: Our creations are really in fact 100% Italian from the very initial idea of the shoe’s creation until the moment of its concrete manufacture and delivery to the customer, with all the quality knowledge and the know-how this implies; the ”Italianity” is a kind of a “perfume“ the product exhales; a sort of alchemy of the parts melting into a creation of a special allure, which deals with our culture, the places where we live and with the air we are breathing.
OAK: Italy has a longstanding history in fashion design. What other designers have inspired you along the way? What about their methods do you appreciate?
SC: There are many designers of the past I appreciate, who have successfully created a distinguishable style in addition to producing wonderful clothes. I can mention Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Martin Margiela or Hermes, whose objects still have their whole value. Also nowadays there are very good designers, but the problem of today is that the business is so aggressive and so fast that there is not enough time to let the things age and be consolidated. All has to be “cooked and eaten” as fast as this can be; if this does not work, there are no further possibilities. Each thing becomes rapidly old and soon we forget the good due to our uncontrollable hunger for new things.
OAK: You design for the woman of today, yet create pieces that challenge time and always feel modern. How do you find this balance when designing? How do you know when something you create is both current and timeless?
SC: To be honest when I create a product, I do not first decide which elements I can use to let it be “timeless”; I concentrate not only on the latest fashion trends – which often are not so useful – but I always try to remember the soul of the Vic Matié brand. Besides this, I try to have an approach to each shoe, as if it were not only a fashion accessory, but also an object that has to convey a special mood besides fitting the woman who puts it on.
OAK: Outside of fashion, what other elements do you find inspiring?
SC: Inspiration comes from everything; it can come from a song, a landscape, a book… there are no rules. When it comes, it is an [incredible] sensation. You are surely aware of it. Also nature is really a constant source of inspiration for me, or rather a constant research to combine a natural and handcrafted dimension with the technology of the modern world.
OAK: Why is the Serra dei Conti a perfect fit for your showroom, and how did Vic Matié end up in the historical structure?
SC: This has to do with the will of always telling a true story. Our factory was born in this small village of the Marches region; We live and work here every day. What other place could be better to represent the ideal context of Vic Matié than Serra de’ Conti? It is clear that our aspiration is to go beyond our borders so that our brand is known worldwide, but we can never forget who we are and where we come from.
OAK: What else is the Serra dei Conti currently used for?
SC: The “Antica Fabbrica Laterizi” in Serra dei Conti, the old brickworks, was the first manufacturer in the area. In 2000 Linea Marche SpA (the factory which produces the Vic Matié trademark) bought the buildings and the ground to build a wonderful industrial archeological masterpiece being faithful to its original structure and to the environment. Now in these buildings there is the Vic Matié showroom and our factory store outlet. Moreover there is the restaurant, a bed and breakfast called “Coquus Fornacis”, which cooks typical dishes of Marches tradition, and an architecture studio. My dream is to move all the factory activities from the research and development through the production department to this wonderful place.
OAK: How would you describe your personal style?
SC: It is very difficult to describe ourselves. However, I believe that my style is a mix of male and female elements, a mixing of love towards clear lines bound up with a rock twist without forgetting a little bit of sportiness and more refined and elegant looks.
OAK: Who is the Vic Matié customer? Who would you most like to see one of your designs on?
SC: In reality I never refer to one specific female figure, but I always try to build and convey a little bit of the Vic Matié soul and world through each shoe. The one who can appreciate and perceive this, can be a Vic Matié customer. In my opinion there are not any stereotypes nowadays, each of us can be different according to the situations and the mood, therefore I try to create a style to tell a story and each woman can decide if she wants to get involved.
OAK: Where is your favorite place to travel? Is there anywhere you want to go but haven’t be able to yet?
SC: I love the sea. I am lucky, as I live very close to the seaside, so when I can I go there. I would like to visit lots of places; I do not think that there are places which are not worth visiting. One is the savanna in Africa, as you can have a direct contact with the wilder and primordial nature there. This fascinates me a lot because I believe that we can learn much more from animals than from man.
OAK: Music is a big part of the OAK lifestyle. What are you currently listening to, and what role has music played in influencing you and your designs?
SC: I think I am quite old fashioned as far as music is concerned! My background is definitely rock; I like listening to all new songs of the musical panorama, but The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and Nirvana are the ones that I am in love with. Perhaps the reason is that some kinds of music are still able to convey a desire for change and for breaking which we do not have anymore and are not able to regain.
OAK: What’s next for Vic Matié? How do you see the brand evolving over time?
SC: My aim is that Vic Matié can become a reference point thanks to its very personal and unique style, and that it can represent an alternative for all the other brands that exist on the market. I would like that the values and the truth of this brand’s soul are obviously known all over the world without forgetting Italy and Europe, which represent our background.