I arrive to the Fashion Hub and, after fighting against 3 different unfriendly-but-friendly hostesses, I write my name on a piece of paper and I get a ticket to go in.
The temporary showroom looks modern and minimalistic contrasting with the colourful creations of the 10 emerging designers exhibiting.
As soon as I step into the room I see a familiar face who screams: “Girl with a Banjo!”. “Yes, that’s me!”, I say to myself while I realize it is actually the first time somebody calls me like that. Greta Castelli, an Italian Designer I met in September last year, is waiting for me with a big smile and a powerful collection on the racks.
“You know how much I care about semiotics and the study of symbols”, she starts, “so I designed a Viking-inspired collection following this theme”. I suddenly remember that her latest collection had a very ethnic feeling and that she had gone through a very intense research to make it. For FW13, instead, Viking Valkyries are reinterpreted in a modern approach.
Valhalla –the Viking heroes paradise- is the title of the collection. With braids being the centric element, wood and knits are also introduced uniformly. “These are symbols of divinity that I found while I was doing my research. I also found out that Vikings had strong beliefs on mysticism and spirituality. That is why you see apples and candles everywhere… Apples were said to be the fairies’ food, as well as a tabu for men and therefore a sorcery symbol”.
I quickly have a look around while she speaks and I feel all the Nordic essence running through my veins. Even the palette has been carefully selected. Greta Castelli has used a very balanced combination between cold and warm colours, exploring cobalt blues and earth browns splashed with the hottest orange.
She really has taken care of every single detail and expressed her full understanding and respect for the environment while creating the collection. However, as a lover of Scandinavian Fashion myself, I start wondering what her thoughts on animal fur are. She confesses that she really struggled while creating one of the dresses. “I knew fur was a big issue in the ancient Nordic societies, but I was not going to use real (nor artificial) fur in my collection. So after conducting a textiles research, I found a printed fabric that imitates the visual feeling of fur”.
I ask Greta about the assymetries in some of her creations. “I wanted to recall the mantle, which was used by Vikings during the cold season, by creating half-capes”.
She then shows me a beautiful dress with colourful optical embroideries that recall the runes (the Viking’s alphabet) and I almost faint. The bright hues over cobalt blue look perfect.
I am wondering how I would look in that dress when Greta points at a beautiful brown coat with wooden buttons on a mannequin. She invites me to touch it and I soon realize there’s something really special about that piece: the brown fabric has been ripped in one of the sides revealing the original textile, which happens to be blue. I haven’t seen anything like that in my whole life and I bet I have a poker face.
When we arrive to the accessories corner I am already overwhelmed by Greta’s incredible work of art. But apparently there’s more. She tells me in a very excited tone that the wooden glasses she created for SS13 were published in the latest Vogue Accessories. Apparently she can’t believe she’s been featured there (but I do!).
Greta has designed two wooden bracelets that recall triangles and skulls, a pair of knitted warmers and a stunning pair of handmade shoes. “These are actually wearable”, Greta says. Despite the rough look, the shoes are very light and comfortable and the base is made of just one piece. Stunning.
Talking to Patricia Jorge, a friend of mine who is a shoe expert and blogger, we both agree that Greta Castelli’s shoes are fantastic. Even though Patricia is not a big fan of platforms, she admits that the construction, the use of recycled materials and the weight of Greta’s shoes are -such as the rest of Valhalla- definitely remarkable.
I am wishing Greta Castelli all the possible “in bocca al lupo‘s” that are available in the world in the launch of her Valhalla collection. I would like to personally thank her for her enthusiasm and availability in the making of this post.
Don’t forget to like Greta Castelli on Facebook and leave her a message!