MY INTERVIEW WITH LUCA CASAROTTO ROMER ON Vogue.it
In her suitcase you may find precious stones, cherry flowers and kimonos. Her room is an explosion of Asian pop cultures. Her life, a string of journeys, started at an early age and still going on. She created her first collection, The Western Orient, by mixing all this elements. We exchanged a few words with Beatrice Bongiasca, the most ‘kawaii’ among young designers
“My first question: I’m curious to know when you started developing you passion for Asia“?
Since I was a child, my parents taught me to cultivate a passion for traveling. Exploring Indonesia, China, Japan or Thailand I have learnt to know and appreciate different cultures, that have shaken up my life. At least aesthetically speaking.
”Is there something in particular that made you fall in love with the Far East?“
Not just something, lots of things! Among them the kawaii culture – all that we can define odd and nice – that regards everything, from the clothes to the attitude. It’s the street my primary source of inspiration. I liked to hang around, getting lost, looking for jade and precious materials coming from who knows what faraway markets. During my latest trips I had the chance to meet a special guide. Once we were in Panyu, a neighborhood of Guangzhou: I remember the guide took me to a five-storey mall that sold exclusively precious stones. I didn’t know where to start from, and came out with six kilograms of corals!
”This is what I call shopping… But tell me more about The Western Orient. “
My collection, like the kawaii culture, is conceived as an escape from reality, trying to find a harmony of colors and materials that make us forget about bad things in life. At the same time, however, behind its grace hides social condemnation of consumerism so widespread in the West but that paradoxically is now also part of the Oriental daily life. You will therefore find pearls, a status symbol, embellished with small rice grains that exemplify the hard work of the Chinese people, as well as the importance of food, without which, according to Mao Tse-Tung, the population would have rebelled. Some of the pieces, instead, hide the words “money” in three different languages. This is the reason why I use the banknote, a regular feature more or less evident throughout the collection.
”What stones did you choose? The mood board features pastel nuances, so I chose amethyst and topaz, jade, tourmaline, baroque and freshwater pearls, embellished with gold and silver.”What about the lookbook, which I find truly well-made?“
I live in London but I asked Giovanni Gastel to take the pictures so we did the shooting in Milan. It was rather funny, I had to carry on board my flight a 26 kg suitcase crammed with jewels, clothes and objects found during my trips. Besides, the night before I prepared the rice, went to China Town to get the noodles as ended my tour at a fast food place to buy cheeseburger and fries. The result, as you can see, is a fusion of stereotypes. The two perspectives (Oriental and Western) blend together and the boundaries are blurred. The ensemble is accentuated by vibrant tones and by a model who has a cross-contaminated beauty.
”My last, obligatory, question: where can we get your marvelous creations?”
For the time being you may contact me at my address, firstname.lastname@example.org
But the moment I ask her if she is already working on a new collection, she promptly answers: “Of course not, I still haven’t finished this one.” And, taking a sneak peak at her blog, I can see it’s true. There’s a whole world waiting to be turned into a piece of jewerly.