Gabriele Skucas was invited by Alta Roma to present her graduation collection from Central Saint Martin titled The End of Irony. The work of Skucas revolved around the idea and aesthetics of school uniforms. Her aim was to re-create the two piece uniform with traditional tailoring and choice of colors in order to a satisfy a long lived desire to experience something that she had only studied from a far. The concept of the uniform and what represents in terms of cultural and social heritage in the Western culture pushed her to introduce her very own version of it. With The End of Irony she respected the classic cuts of the skirts as well as embroidered details on the blouses introducing complex crochet techniques, which contributed to create a signature collection that strongly expresses her vision as a designer.
Since you graduated from CSM and won L’Oréal Professionnel Award, what has changed for you?
Since I won the L’Oreal Professional Award, I did win some prize money, so that allowed me the funds to start a new collection. That is the materialistic, very practical answer… But mentally, winning the award has shown me that I have a place in Fashion, that someone understands it, and furthermore- likes it. As much as I believe in my aesthetic, there have certainly been times where I compared myself to other London designers and, it seemed like maybe there wasn’t a spot for me. Winning the award has helped me prove to myself I just have to be confident in my ideas and someone must be able to relate to them.
The title of your collection is « The end of Irony ». Why this title? What kind of irony are you referring to?
Actually, I think someone wrote an article, mentioning my collection- and they called it “The End of Irony.” I think maybe the journalist had in mind that fashion these days is often about using irony, and subverting clothing, and making street fashion high fashion, etc etc.. But I just used “Normal Clothing” without trying to subvert it or be very “creative” with it. It’s a tricky thing to explain! ha, I think my collection, in a way was a mundane, usual clothing collection, I used clothes which have strong connotations and visuals to explain my concept, rather than using visual irony. Which, I thought was a great title to call the article “The End of Irony.”
All your collection is based on two classic costume-inspired pieces: a top paired with a dark pleated skirt. What does this quite severe uniform represent to you?
I wanted to use and repeat this clothing shape because it represents a strictness and severity. A below the knee, heavy wool skirt is a “vintage” style- where rules and expectations of how a girl “should behave” and the boundaries of what a good girl should and should not do, where many more than today. I focused on a single cream blouse, a single below the knee skirt, a single black blazer to be as strict as possible, also with myself. To not be “creative and experimental” was how I included myself in my own strict concept and narrative.
Speaking of your working progress and especially knitwear, how do you cherish past traditions and adapt them to today’s industry?
As a creator, I enjoyed confining myself as I surrounded myself with the restriction of a Private School uniform. As a knitwear designer, new techniques and advanced knit technologies are many and plentiful in modern day. But I wanted to be safe, to do something that both myself and tradition know how to do very well- to sit and to crochet. For a month, I sat day and day again crocheting a pleated skirt using a single “v” stitch. I wanted to test my own boundaries and patience, as the world seemed to be moving very fast and around me, I wanted to lure myself away from the temptation of “exciting” techniques and do the same thing everyday until I finished the garment. In doing so, I felt incredibly restricted, but also very safe-like, there was no way I could mess up. In this way, I suppose I used tradition as another tool to help express my concept.
Are you trying to express any kind of rejection through your work?
Yes, I am- as I mentioned in my previous answer, I guess I tried to reject new and exciting knitwear techniques and clothing shapes, not because I do not like them, but simply because that worked with this particular concept.
How would you describe your experience at A.I? Do you feel that your collection has a link with the city of Rome?
My experience at A.I was incredible. Truly, they supported me to come to Rome, provided a place for me to live while I was there. – And, they treated me and my work with such a level of respect and praise. I just felt like, what did I do to deserve these people, Clara and Alessio to be this kind and giving to me. The location of the Galleria Nazionale also elevated my collection and truly made it look even stronger. I believe Rome is incredibly linked with my work. Just walking on the cobblestoned Roman ground and looking at each surrounding ancient building explains to you that this is a city which respects and wants to preserve tradition. This is a city which does not believe that newer is better. I believe I have that in common with Rome.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are continuing on my own collection and I would love to collaborate with a design brand which has a similar aesthetic to mine.