Taking the leap to show at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week is a risky endeavor for any young designer. The extensive cost, and the potential for unfavorable press can be daunting for the bravest of hearts. At the same time, the reward of wide-spread media exposure which can lead to career-making orders can be massive. The pressure to create a perfect collection, and have it appreciated by the international media in attendance is immense, but Italian design duo Filippo Bruno and Salvatore Prete are taking it all in stride. With cool heads, and a serious commitment to their craft the pair are ready to take New York by storm with the debut of their label Prete & Bruno scheduled to hit the runways at Lincoln Center on February 13th.
Style Wylde caught up with the enigmatic duo to discuss their design inspiration, their Fall 2012 collection, and how it feels to be on the brink of making it big in New York.
SW: Previous to launching your label Prete & Bruno in Spring 2011, what were you doing? How have your lives changed since the launch?
PB: Both of us worked as creative freelancers in the clothing and accessories industries for some Italian brands. We also made a carbon fiber collection that was launched last Milan Fashion Week. After Spring 2011 we decide to share our view on fashion. We strongly believe that fashion can and should endow women with a new femininity that draws its strength from the refinement and elegance of the past. This belief led us to create our label “Prete & Bruno”. A dream come true for both of us! Our life is really changed, we’re a small company and everything is up to us, so we’re very busy, kind of “fashion globetrotters”.
SW: What first attracted you to the fashion industry? When did you know design was your true calling?
PB: [Fashion is] a passion we've had deep in our souls since we were young and helped our mother's buy their dresses. [We were attracted to] The possibility to design dresses that make real our fashion point of view. Our creativity is dedicated to Women who want to highlight their femininity without falling into banality.
SW: Your business is headquartered in two major fashion capitals, Milan and New York. What made you decide to split your time working from out of these two very different locations?
PB: Milan is the Italian capital of fashion and we’re Italian, so it was easy to start our career there. At the same time we spent so much time in NYC that we actually felt it was the right place to establish our creative office and to launch our label. New York is a vibrant city and we felt that we’re part of this special energy that only New York can give us.
SW: Other than fashion, what other art, or activities do you feel passionate about?
PB: We both love to travel around the world and to absorb other cultures. We love interior design, cinema and European art of the last four centuries. We love the history of Arts, you can understand when you see our collections.
SW: What inspires your design, do you have a specific muse for who you create your collections?
PB: We take inspiration from the great icons of the past. Women that have marked epochs of great refinement where fashion never fell into vulgarity. In this collection we especially take inspiration from Marlene Dietrich and Grace Kelly, two very different women both chic and strong.
SW: Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week Fall 2012 will be your first major runway show that you have done in New York. How does it feel to be taking this huge step at this early point in your label's life?
PB: Yes, our international debut will be in New York during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. We actually decided to take this risk because we believe in our collection and in our talent. We made a choice between Milan and New York. Milan is good but it is “in the corner” for a lot of reasons, New York is our second “own” city. We feel at home there and we think that the future for us will be there. By the way [New York] is also the most important Fashion Week in the world and is very well managed by IMG and CFDA.
SW: Please tell us a little about the Fall 2012 collection. Are there specific influences that inspired the pieces, that you'd like to share with us? Can you give us a hint as to what the color palette will be?
PB: [Our collection is for] a woman who wants to highlight her femininity without falling into banality. Silhouettes evoke the great refined women of the past...The silence, the abstract purity of form enriched with refined details. Tradition filtered by design and sometimes renewed by a sort of provocative copy and paste. The traditional elegance inspires elegance and sensuality: a sort of need to return to the origins of fashion. The colors of this season: black carefully matched to green and gold.
SW: After New York, what is next on the agenda for Prete & Bruno?
PB: We’re working to be present in some important events in US and Europe with our dresses. We already work with the Royal Princess of Italy for an important Ball in Italy and we’re working for some Hollywood actresses. Our dream is to be present in the Oscar Award red carpets. We also are working on the Spring 2013 collection, the most important next step in agenda!
All images courtesy of Prete & Bruno.