Venetian designers Arnoldo][Battois give edge to form and function
by Diane Pernet
Walking the streets of Venice at daybreak is like being on an empty set in a theater lost in time. Imagine spending your entire life in a city where past and present co-exist in a dynamic equilibrium. Designers Silvano Arnoldo and Massimilliano Battois have done just that.
“It is a city of muffled silence, continuous variations of light, reflections of water illuminating the stone, sudden changes of perspective, the intense scent of Calicantus spreading quietly through the winter nights in the secret gardens,” they explain. In their isolation, they rediscover the past while designing for the future.
Arnoldo and Battois met while studying architecture at Venice University. Their studies gave them a certain clarity in their vision and approach to constructing their collection. The pair see their work as a never-ending story—never perfect, continually enriched by personal experiences, and new materials that are used to experiment with form, volume and texture. Dealing with negative space is an important aspect of their work. “The empty is essential to define the full; the definition of an object arises from the dynamic balance between the positive and the negative,” say Arnoldo and Battois. “Our collections are projected thinking about the wise, rigorous, and magnificent game of volumes under the light.”
The Arnoldo/Battois collection is entirely handmade in collaboration with local Venetian artisans. Their materials include rare leathers like soft napa tinted in barrels; soft calf treated with aniline, suede, and waxed pythons, and for the Fall/Winter collection, Kidassia fur from Tibetan goat. The Tibetan goat set the mood for the collection, which was inspired by Nordic people and their pagan rites. The Earth, Nordic light, wild and arid landscapes and the many shades of moss, mineral tones and darker shades inspired the color palette.
Arnoldo and Battois’ style icon is Simonetta Colonna di Cesaro, the first woman of Italian fashion. She represents a sophisticated and aristocratic woman who merges art and entrepreneurship. Vionnet inspires the fluidity of their shapes, as does the classic drapery seen on museum statues. The two designers use cut, seaming and pleats to create a dynamic effect. And lastly, the Palazzo Fortuny also serves as an inspiration, showing that there are no boundaries between different art forms.
One of Arnoldo and Battois’ projects for 2012 is to produce and distribute a ready-to-wear collection. It would boast their signature look—structures that define and enhance the wearer by wrapping around the silhouette. The pieces will be transformable and adaptable to different situations and body shapes and will include tunics, kimonos and cloaks, all evoking an austere sensuality and formal rigor.
The collection is sold at their boutique: Arnoldo/Battois, Calle dei Fuseri 4271, San Marco 30124 Venezia and H.P. France in Japan.