If you think all fashion bloggers do is try to get a perfect street-style snap, it might be time to think again. Instagram sensations Giorgia Tordini and Gilda Ambrosio are leveraging on their social media stardom to build a luxury fashion business.
The design duo met me for the interview in their showroom in Paris’s posh Marais district. Although they have just flown in from Milan, the busy fashion month city-hopping tour didn’t seem to have taken a toll on their camera-ready looks.
“It’s coffee,” Ambrosio says. “I drink maybe 10 coffees a day.”
Ambrosio’s coffee consumption is easily justified given the amount of work that goes into their brand Attico. The Italian “it” girl duo – Ambrosio counts 129,000 Instagram followers while Tordini has 72,300 fans – launched their new fashion brand Attico (meaning “penthouse” in English) in February this year. The two were both stylists and designers by training before gaining popularity online.
“The fact that we are digital influencers helped us communicate the work we do,” Tordini says. “With a significant amount of followers who are interested in helping us, [we were able to] push our project and brand a lot. We can also show how we would style the looks directly from our [social media platforms].”
The young brand quickly made it onto the industry know-hows’ radar and also created a following among customers. Now their coveted collection is stocked by luxury e-commerce sites including Net-a-Porter, MatchesFashion as well as brick-and-mortar institution Opening Ceremony.
“We were both very into robe dresses and in September last year, we decided to do a small collection of the dresses that we love,” Tordini recalls.
“We began thinking ‘let’s just do a few pieces, nothing big’ and [the collection] actually became big,” Ambrosio adds.
The tipping point of their overnight success also has much to do with their social media presence. When they announced the news of their collection on Instagram in January, they got a surprising message from Lisa Aiken, Net-a-Porter’s retail fashion director asking to see their lookbook.
“I’ve been following their Instagram for a while and when they announced the news, I was very excited and sent them a message,” Aiken says.
The group managed to meet a month later and after seeing the samples, Aiken decided to sign the brand and work on a capsule collection.
Working with Net-a-Porter was a great starting point for a new brand, Ambrosio says.
Tordini agrees and adds: “Net-a-Porter has been very supportive and partnering with it has launched the brand into a high-end position.”
This month, Attico will launch with Net-a-Porter exclusively a collection of six looks for the festive season, joining the e-commerce giant’s starry collaborator list which includes Gucci, Isabel Marant and Preen.
The new capsule collection is focused around Attico’s autumn-winter 2016 classics but has a more modern spin.
“We have created a few party dresses that are sparkly, shiny and great for the holiday season,” Tordini says.
Attico’s signature robe dresses quickly become a hot item thanks to the “it” girls’ frequent street style appearances as well as their fellow bloggers’ support – Chiara Ferragani of The Blonde Salad, for example, was spotted in an emerald Attico velvet dress.
“I think being comfortable is important for today’s modern women,” Tordini says. “A robe dress is very easy to wear. We don’t want people to think that our clothes are too dressy.”
The pair are the perfect candidates to style their collection.
“As an everyday item, I leave the buttons open and wear the robe dress as a jacket, paired with a simple T-shirt and jeans,” Tordini says. “For evening, I wrap it around the waist closely and accessorise. It’s actually a very versatile item.”
Apart from their signature silhouette, for the spring-summer 2017 collection, Attico has expanded its offerings to denim as well as bags and shoes.
“For the spring/summer [collection], our theme is exotic erotic,” Tordini says. “In the last collection we had more loungewear-esque styles and a softer colour palette. The woman we are dressing is more daring this season.”
The spring/summer 2017 robes are rendered in colourful satin, embellished with delicate embroideries of exotic motifs from lobster to palm tree and Chinese-inspired prints.
The new accessories include a series of silk satin evening pouches that can be matched with the robe dresses as well as trendy mule shoes that come with ankle bracelets in satin or velvet. The shoes are all made in the duo’s hometown back in Italy.
“Everything is made in Italy,” Tordini says. “We want high-quality products and Italian [manufacturers] have the same sensibility as us. We want very artisanal products, everything handmade.”
Although Tordini is based in New York while Ambrosia is set up in Milan, the pair found a system that works for them, which again is thanks to the digital platforms they enlisted.
“We clock in a lot of hours on Skype and we also share a lot of Pinterest boards,” Tordini says. “The time that you’ll find us together in the same time zone is probably when we visit our factories in Italy or go on trips to find inspiration. We buy a lot of vintage pieces for research.”
They are also the living proof that good friends can also be great business partners.
“We are completely opposite – our style and personality,” Ambrosio says.
“Totally,” Tordini agrees. “But because of our different styles, we are able to complement each other and create something different.”
Their chemistry has obviously fuelled their creativity but instant feedback from the social media community also helped.
“We take inspiration from the internet and we give back,” Tordini says. “We get inspired and we hope to inspire others.”
GILDA AMBROSIO AND GIORGIA TORDINI
OCCUPATION: Fashion designers and stylists
TIPS FOR YOUNG DESIGNERS: Tordini: You need to be confident and really believe in your ideas and work hard on them.
INSPIRATION: Tordini: Vintage clothes and furniture inspired us greatly. We are constantly travelling to Tokyo vintage stores. I also love shopping in Los Angeles. Last season we were inspired by a vintage screen divider which features a lot of beautiful Chinese embroidery and Asian decorative designs.
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