The Fashion Folk S01 ep18 : Alessandro Dell Acqua, Borbonese Fashion, [Milian]
Interview with Alessandro Dell Acqua
The spirit of Borbonese is the exact contrary of my own label. That is why it is very interesting, because I work in two different directions . The Borbonese woman is one who likes to travel the world, is sophisticated, not too extravagant , extremely fashionable , but very classical - never bourgeois. My personal label is more experimental and cutting edge.
KD – I see you have customers like Nicole Kidman. Do they come to Milan to
have things made by you?
No, we have a relationship based on emails and faxes. They write to me and I
send them copies of designs and then they write back with what they are
KM – Do you have other clients like her that you work for?
Yeah, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Winona Ryder
KM – You make for all these people here in Italy?
Yeah, they call us, they ask for dresses, we send them dresses and they call
back and say thank you.
KM – What is Borbonese, how old is it and when did it start?
I think it commenced in 1960 and it was originally a shop in Turin.
Its fame started with a particular ‘Birdseye’ leather print, which became something
very special and exclusive for Borbonese. They became very popular particularly
in the 1970’s.
I was chosen to restyle Borbonese completely, probably because I am Italian, and
Borbonese is an Italian brand. I'm already known for my fashion designs here in
Italy, so I was considered by the owners to be the most appropriate person to re-
launch and reinterpret this brand in a contemporary manner.
I come from Naples and wanted a career in fashion.
In the 80’s, there was a Milanese designer named Enrica Marsei who inspired me,
so when I arrived in Milan I went immediately to her showroom and, luckily
enough, Enrica herself appeared at the door and so I showed her my sketches.
She replied ‘O.K. from next week you can come in and start to work with us’.
I was disappointed by Marsei as I was never given the chance to really design
and create fashion, but was essentially doing menial tasks.
I realized that if I wanted to be a real designer I had to work for the big
companies. So I then went on to work for Mazzoto, Vesti Bene, collaborated with
Genni who I worked with for 6 years. Then I worked with Gilmar, Mascar and, and
finally, achieved what I wanted to do from the beginning.
KM – When did you start your label?
I started 5 years ago – it is a small company, and not protected or covered by big
No, I want to stay this way because I am free to do what I want.
KM What is the essence of Borbonese?
The spirit of Borbonese is the exact contrary of my own label. That is why it is
very interesting, because I work in two different directions.
The Borbonese woman is one who likes to travel the world, is sophisticated, not
too extravagant, extremely fashionable, but very classical - never bourgeois. My
personal label is more experimental and cutting edge.
With the entrance of Gucci, of Stella McCartney, of Alexandre McQueen, I feel
that there is a renewed interest for fashion and style in Milan, and with this
renewed interest, it brings more foreign people to Milan.
I am very ambitious and I want to be regarded as a great designer, but I still have
a lot of work to do before I am there.
In fact, I am working hard to reach the ‘timeless-classic’ level. At this moment, all
my efforts are concentrated on my work.
Today the designer must also be a personality. People must recognise you by
your picture and at the same time must recognise your designs without looking at
your picture or at the label.
They want to know who you are, what you do, how you do things, they equate
your style to your personality.
In order to receive recognition, you must continuously promote heavily, and be
regularly visible in the media.
KM – Who is the perfect woman?
It is Charlotte Rampling. Because she is very sexy, very feminine and very
androgenous. Something which I find very appealing.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Alessandro Dell Acqua, Borbonese Fashion, Milian