My name is Chiara Salimbeni, I live in Florence and I am a sunny and curious girl. I grew up in my grandfather’s workshop, immersed in art books and this detail has greatly influenced my aesthetics. In life, I have a brand called Jouetout to which I dedicate most of my time, and I am also a fashion teacher.
When did you become interested in fashion?
From my childhood. I inherited this passion from my grandmother. The best memory I still have is when I was 6 years old and I was with her whole afternoons embroidering tablecloths and knitting. Right from the start I approached this world and from there I never wanted to leave it.
Is there, or has there been, someone or something that has influenced your work?
There have been various factors that have influenced my aesthetics over the years. The first is, as mentioned above, my childhood in the workshop immersed in art books. The second is my experience in London; in that period I got very close to vintage clothing and the desire to create a more sustainable fashion. The third factor is the romantic influence due to my many trips to Paris during my childhood and obviously also to my growth in my hometown, Florence.
What is your starting point when working on a project?
I start from an inspiration and from fabrics. I pay particular attention to fabrics, I always try to avoid waste. When I go to the warehouse to look for them, I always buy those left aside because maybe they have little footage or are unused. I use high quality fabrics in order to make the garment durable over time.
How would you define your aesthetic?
A romantic, pure, youthful, timeless aesthetic, with a focus on Italian art and craftsmanship. It is the embodiment of a romantic nostalgic youth.
How are your ideas born?
My ideas come from books, travels, life experiences, people I meet on the street. Every day is important to me and when I find something that inspires me, I immediately write it down on my phone or on a sheet of paper.
Are there recurring features within your projects?
Yes, there are several features. For example, the combination of softness and structure given by the fabrics I use, which subsequently leads to a contemporary vision of femininity. The use of vintage buttons, this is due to my mom. When I was little she used to tell me that after the Florence flood in 1966 the shops were forced to discard the goods and my mother collected the buttons to use them for her creations. This story remained very impressed on me and therefore I decided to use vintage buttons, which has become a distinctive element of my brand. Finally, the uniqueness of the garment. The garment I create must last over time and be unique, my collections are characterized because each garment has a different detail from another (a button, a seam). It must give the person wearing it the feeling of being unique in the world.
What’s your favorite garment?
I don’t have a favorite garment. Each of my creations has been carefully crafted entirely by me, I have given each garment an importance and a story to tell. I have perhaps a garment that has impressed me the most for the manufacturing technique, but I certainly can’t consider it my favorite!
What do you think of the fashion world today?
I think fashion goes too fast and I don’t think all this speed is needed. We always try to chase something, but as soon as we manage to get it, there is already something new that intrigues our curiosity. In doing so, the beauties are lost and past planning is neglected. I hope that after this period we will be able to rediscover the beauty of a timeless garment, the beauty of handmade and craftsmanship.
What do you think is the future of fashion?
There will certainly be a more eco-sustainable approach and greater attention to the quality of the workmanship and components of a product. We are already seeing this with the slow fashion boom.
What’s in your future? Do you have a specific plan that you are determined to follow?
I don’t have a precise plan, but I have goals that I would like to achieve: to make my brand and my story known to more people, to be able to show my creations live, to make use of collaborators who share my aesthetics with me.