Chatting with Attico
During market in Paris this past September, KZ Editorial Director Jessica Minkoff sat down with the talented duo to talk beginnings, Spring 2018 inspiration, and who the Attico girl is.
Founded and designed by Italian style icons Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini, Attico (Italian for penthouse) is a collection of statement pieces inspired by the classic peignoir. Each piece is meant to embody a woman from a different city, reinventing the idea of opulence. Here, the gracious and utterly cool pair spill all the details on how they met, what the brand vision is, and how they plan to expand in the future. —Jessica Minkoff
I want to start by getting to know you a little bit better and your past and how you came to be in this position you’re in now. When you were younger were you interested in fashion? Giorgia Tordini: Yeah, yeah, I was. My dad is in the industry, so I grew up with it. He’s a designer as well so I really grew up seeing him sketching and working in fashion as a designer and being creative so I was definitely interested already and fascinated by it. He introduced me to Milan. I’m not from Milan. I’m from a small town in the center of Italy, so then he moved his business to Milan and I started to go with him and travel a little bit when I had time off school and i saw the trade shows and shows and, wow, I realized I wanted to do this. When the moment came to pick out my university, I decided to do fashion design. I was studying art already.
Where did you study? GT: In Milan at IED—Institute of Design. It’s one of the two biggest fashion schools in Milan.
And then when did you meet Gilda? GT: I met Gilda a long time ago, and we were just friends at the beginning for a long time. But she’s a designer as well and we have almost the same past related to fashion and how be both approach it because she also kind of grew up with it and then she studied fashion design as well. We have a big age difference. She’s 25, I’m 32. But we both kind of had the same path.
Do you remember exactly where you met? GT: No. She was a good friend of my sister, Julia, so that’s how we met.
Do you remember anything about your past, like a really memorable moment of fashion where you were like “Okay, this is what I want to do.”? GT: Yeah, I used to collect campaigns from the magazines. I still have this book with plastic envelopes where I was pulling campaigns and editorials from magazines I really liked and I was just collecting them because I was living in a small town so this was the only thing that could take me somewhere else in my small reality, and then of course when I moved to Milan and I went deep in it and started to study fashion, I got used to it.
Do you remember some of the designers’ campaigns? GT: Gucci, Tom Ford. Definitely.
Were you in New York for the show this season? GT: No, I wasn’t. I used to be based in New York full-time, and then since I launched Attico, I started to come a lot to Italy because the collection is in Italy and everything is based here so I mean its a new project that needs a lot of time and I have to be very dedicated.
I think it got to show that when you’re invested in the industry, and, from a personal standpoint, you have your own point of view and you have your brand, it really strengthens the product. GT: Yeah. It takes a while, I think, to find your own aesthetic and vision, and I think you need experience. I wasn’t ready before. I’ve tried to do something by myself but then I was feeling something was wrong. It wasn’t done very well. You know, then, when we had the idea of creating Attico we both knew what we wanted to do.
Yeah. I was going to ask you when…I know it’s not just one moment in time where you decide to launch a brand and the next day… GT: Well, it kind of happened like this
How exactly did it happen? GT: We were in New York. Gilda spent the whole summer there, and I wasn’t in New York, and then I went back and I was like, “Okay, let’s spend some time together.” So we started to just hang out and we didn’t hang out too much when we were both in Milan so New York kind of brought us together more. She didn’t know a lot of people in town so we were spending time together, and then fashion week started and we were going to shows and kind of getting to know each more and, also in the past we talked a few times about doing something to collaborate and I asked her to help me with something and it didn’t really happen. I was like, “You know, I really want to do this.” And she was like, “Yeah, why don’t we do this and that?” It was just a conversation, and then we decided to do something together. We didn’t know it was named “Attico,” it was just something. We knew we wanted to do this kind of product like we started from the idea of the rope and the wrap dress so everything kind of started around that and then we slowly created a world around it. The first collection was really small. It was like 38 pieces, so very small concept and also like we expanded so quickly but we didn’t really plan to expand from the second season so much, it just came naturally. Also not everyone can do that but we had the support of a few factories who really believed in the project so that’s why it went so fast. It was like we want to do this so lets do it.
"We kind of envisioned this place, this “Attico,” this penthouse where women live and hang out"
Can you tell me a little bit about the “Attico” name? GT: It means “penthouse” in Italian. It all started because the first season, the whole aesthetic and the Attico world was around interior design. It still is, but now every season has its own inspiration. But we started from that, so we kind of envisioned this place, this “Attico,” this penthouse where women live and hang out and so most of the embroideries and the prints of the first season were inspired by wallpapers, by tapestries, by carpets and also furniture, details, vintage. And also it’s ATtico because the idea in the future is to develop much more than this, and Attico, not to be just a clothing or accessories or fashion brand but we would like it to be a platform where we can sell also a section of objects that can be anything, really, like books or furniture, that can complete the idea of Attico that we have in mind.
And you said that obviously the interiors is always an inspiration, but where do you get inspiration from season after season? Do you find yourself inspired by culture or people or your environment? GT: Yeah, I mean anything. We do a lot of vintage research of vintage clothing. We go every season to Los Angeles. It’s really the place that inspired us the most because it’s just the vibe and the mood.
They have really good vintage stores. GT: They have amazing vintage stores and vintage furniture stores and markets, so we find a lot of ideas there. But also in the Internet most of the vintage furniture I find on 1stdibs. It’s like a playground for me and then photography and books.
"We always had the idea that Attico is for every woman; there’s no age or type of woman who would want to wear it but kind of every one would feel good in it."
And so we can talk a little specifically about this collection—Spring 18—I heard a little bit about it when I was walking through, but can you speak to the inspiration behind the collection and what you guys were thinking? GT: We have two women in the look book. It’s like a very young teenage girl and a more mature woman. We picked two different characters because as every season we explore the relationship between women. This time we did it between two different generations. We always had the idea that Attico is for every woman; there’s no age or type of woman who would want to wear it but kind of every one would feel good in it. So we got inspired just as a starting point by this documentary called “Great Gardens” where it’s the aunt of Jackie Kennedy that was isolated in this house in East Hampton with her daughter for a long time. For sure like we took another direction because there situation was quite deteriorated so we went more luxury. Yeah so this is the idea of two women, very different ages, and backgrounds just isolated in a space. What would they do, you know? I created a fantasy world. That’s why we went a bit crazy with colors and embellishments. We really wanted this collection to be fun. Also it’s funny because when we were shooting the look book, the older woman is Georgina Grenville, this very famous model from the late 90s’-2000s. She said, “Oh my god, these dresses, you cannot have a bad time with them.” I was like, “You’re the perfect Attico woman.”
It is true. GT: This is the spirit like you need to have fun when you’re wearing Attico. You’re gonna have a good time.
So I know the collection has obviously gotten bigger. How else would you say that it’s also evolved since you started? I know it obviously hasn’t been very long, but you have to have seen an evolution no matter how much time has past. Is there something that you guys feel you’ve switched focus on, or that you’re working toward? How do you see the brand changing? GT: There is an expansion of the range of products. We added separates; we added accessories. It wasn’t really planned. It just came very natural. We wanted to create a complete wardrobe slowly, so we’re going that direction. I mean you will always find the robe and the wrap dress because this is our core, but of course a closet of a woman is made of much more. That’s why we wanted to add the little pouches. The choice of the pouches is because the Attico woman doesn’t really carry a bag. She always wants her hands free. The pouch is like the perfect, easy small, easy-to-carry bag. And we introduce in the new season the one that you can hang by the neck, it’s more like a necklace but it fits cigarettes and an iPhone and thats what you need, like credit cards.
Do you have a favorite piece in this collection? GT: No. Maybe. I mean I love the white feather dress because it kind of sums up the whole idea of fun and elegance.
"I would say fun, eclectic, and modern but vintage. I would use always contrasting words because Attico is a little bit of everything."
If someone had asked you what three words you would use to describe the brand, what would you say? GT: I would say fun, eclectic, and modern but vintage. I would use always contrasting words because Attico is a little bit of everything.
I was going to ask you guys together what you would say one another’s role is? GT: There is no role, really. We are both designers. Usually in a couple you have someone that is more business oriented and the other one more creative, but we are both designers. And we’re both very different.
How do you think you’re different? GT: Everything: personality, attitude, approach things, lifestyle, mental organization, style, aesthetic ….opposite.
So you guys don’t disagree, then? GT: Yes, of course. I mean at the beginning it was very smooth. You don’t know each other that well so you tiptoe. Now we are real partners, we know each other, we are friends, we are really close so there are no filters. I mean there are still filters. So it’s fine, we know we are different, I’m gonna say black and she’s gonna say pink, it’s fine, I know that. But also I’m not Attico at all, I’m a part of it, but when I’m dressed up I’m just wearing black so it was fun for me because I can do in Attico something I would never do with myself so I really push my boundaries to new things.
What do you think people react the most strong to? Is there something in the collection that you’ll always do other than the wrap dresses? GT: I think it’s still the idea of the brand and how we communicate it. The product is nice, but also I think the way we are communicating and the way we do presentations it’s really a stronger experience than just going to a stiff presentation where you go see the clothes and then you leave. The idea of the apartment makes people feel welcome and cozy and they don’t want to leave. They want to spend time with us. The last presentation I was welcoming everyone with margaritas. It’s very easygoing, which in fashion sometimes is hard because presentations and shows, especially, you have no context. We like to establish context with buyers, with press, with everyone, I think it’s easier for them to understand our message.
I know that the Attico girl is not one age, but what is she like in your mind? What does she do for fun? What is her personality like? How does she use fashion to express herself? GT: I think she’s a woman that doesn’t take herself too seriously and she’s staring and she’s curious. She’s a traveller and she’s curious. She’s just a woman of today. She wants to feel sexy but not too dressed up. She wants to have pieces her closet that are kind of timeless she can always use.
What is next for you both? GT: There’s no break, actually. But it’s fun, I know it’s work but when we go to LA the research is the most fun part. We have to be alone because no one can stand us spending 5 hours in a store looking for stuff.
It’s a lot of work, but I feel like it’s really interesting to sort through that stuff. GT: It’s nice because we are two people. When you’re by yourself, it wouldn’t be the same. Even in your hardest moment when you’re tried or stressed out in the drama, it’s better to share it.