Constructing to New Heights

Alithia Spuri-Zampetti embraces East and West

Text by Rosa Bertoli

For her dramatic collection, Alithia Spuri-Zampetti studied the contrasts between Asian and Western composition and applied a strong Japanese influence to classic silhouettes and colorblock tailoring. “The two sides of the world speak the same visual language using an opposite alphabet,” is the charming explanation that Central Saint Martins alumna, Spuri-Zampetti, gives for her graduate collection, presented at Trieste’s ITS in July.

A complex ensemble of thick denim suits and oversized graphic masks and collars make it nearly impossible to believe that this collection is all about the void. “Japanese art is based on empty spaces, subtle proportion and emotions, [while] Western visual culture is all about filling the space with information, color and details,” she explains. “I tried to integrate this duality in my collection: void and full, symmetry and asymmetry, delicate and strong, color and no color.” Spuri-Zampetti certainly managed to merge the best of both worlds, with graphic prints borrowed from Japanese Furisode kimonos and the best tailoring off London’s Savile Row.

Her tailoring is therefore all the more interesting as she takes a classic palette of black, white and cream and marries it with candy pink, canary yellow, light blue and orange. Skillfully draped denim and strategically placed lycra and jersey allow unexpected movement and update the otherwise classic pencil skirt and cropped trousers. “I am obsessed with construction; finding new ways of seaming, bonding and suspending the fabric is the part I enjoy the most,” she clarifies. Spuri-Zampetti did a stint of internships at Gareth Pugh, Viktor & Rolf and Marc Jacobs, but she isn’t worried about people drawing comparisons. “It’s natural to absorb the style of the designer,” she says.

Multitasking seems to be the key word for this Italian designer. With her hands full of fashion, Spuri-Zampetti is now expanding her horizons to a collaboration with musician Mikhail Karikis and a footwear collection of chunky encrusted heels in bright colors. But the most exciting achievement has no doubt been landing a job at Valentino. “I actually have always dreamed of working at Valentino ever since I was 12,” she says, explaining that she has always seen herself in her 30s, working at the Italian maison. “The dream became reality, albeit with a few unexpected factors: I am 23, in Milan, working with a team of amazing people to find a contemporary direction for the house.” To be sure, Spuri-Zampetti’s contemporary avant-garde visions and amazing skills will help.