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"Made in Puglia": the modern tailoring of LC23's FW20 collection

The founder of the brand tells of his complete ideal, the sunsets in Puglia and the relationship between tradition and innovation

Made in Puglia: the  modern tailoring of LC23's FW20 collection The founder of the brand tells of his complete ideal, the sunsets in Puglia and the relationship between tradition and innovation

That of LC23 is an exemplary story. While many other creatives start from the province and start their own brand in one of the Italian fashion cities, Leonardo Colacicco did not want to compromise and based his brand in the birthplace of Gioia del Colle, in the province of Bari, articulating all the various stages of production on the local territory. The main risk of such an operation is obviously to remain limited to its territorial area, but that did not happen with LC23 that, starting from its base in Puglia, has come to dialogue with international sportswear companies such as Puma, Le Coq Sportif, Diadora and Converse. Over the course of its ten years of life, the brand has managed to find its own aesthetic balance in the middle between a high-end tailoring but with relaxed volumes and a lively and inspired streetwear. The best example of this balance is the recent FW20 collection of LC23 that brings to completion all the progress made by Colacicco as creative director of an independent brand in recent years. 

The starting point of the collection are the fabrics: Olmetex and Vitale Barberis are in fact the main suppliers of Colacicco, respectively for technical fabrics and for wool and cottons. Two traditional companies (Vitale Barberis was even founded in the 1600s and remained in the hands of the same family for 15 generations) whose materials, under the hands of Colacicco and his team, have turned into a series of garments ranging from fleece to tailoring but carrying within itself an imprint of unmistakable flair. The subtlety is the secret of the collection that includes highlights such as a men's suit divided in half between two shades of gray, understated black coats lined with animal microprints and a series of cardigans equipped with utility pocket techniques.  The more streetwear side of the collection, then, is decorated according to the visual theme of the emoji, which appear in the form of embroidery and jacquard graphics on several more playful garments.

But being a winter collection, it is the outerwear proposal that is the spearhead of the collection. First of all, a host of Polartec fleece (also available in the suit format) with floral, leopard and color gradient patterns flanked by a selection of puffer jackets in tie-dye pattern and quilted jackets that zigzag the line between English hunting clothing, workwear aesthetics and classic flannel. What is more interesting than the upholstered winter outerwear is that, unlike the unethical goose feathers, the cashmere fiber flakes of the CASHPAD company have been used – a new sustainable alternative that, for futuristic sound, is completely made in Italy, thus respecting the standards of Italianity and sustainability of LC23. There are also anoraks, side zip sweaters and oversized rib sweaters presented in strong blocking colour. 

nss magazine also interviewed the creative director and founder of LC23, Leonardo Colacicco, to be told in more detail the history of the brand and the details about the latest collection. 

LC23 is an atypical brand based in Southern Italy but in dialogue with international realities. How did your journey begin?

LC23 was born from my passion for fashion and my desire to demonstrate even in the "deep South" can be born a brand. After my studies, I lived in Milan working in Yoox. I came home with the desire to create a brand, with the help of my mother who has been a shirtmaker for 40 years. And so LC23 was born, in December 2010. It all started as a game, but then it became my real job. I have been lucky enough to collaborate with some with world-class retailers such as Bodega, United Harrows and Colette;  and also with big sportswear brands both as collaborations and as consultancies. And although I immediately wanted to look beyond the Italian landscape, my base remains Gioia del Colle, in the province of Bari, where I was born and still live.

What do you think is the main obstacle to the success of a brand operating in Southern Italy and what is the main advantage?

The main obstacle is certainly the fact that you cannot count on all the connections that you could have living for example in Milan or other European cities – a very important thing in this industry. I am fortunate to have created many contacts in the industry that allow me to manage many processes even at a distance. The advantage of living in the South, and especially in Puglia, is surely the fact that you can count on a quality of life certainly better than other parts of Italy and the world. Second advantage, no less important, is definitely the fact that we have right here in Puglia so many laboratories with a very high know-how, which have the ability to produce garments of exceptional quality. It is no coincidence that many front lines are produced in Puglia.

How would you define your approach to design? What inspires you and what are the stages of your creative process?

For me the inspiration is everywhere: from the grandfather who walks through the village square in his 50s dress, to the floor of the house in the countryside, to the colors of a sunset over the sea. As I said before, I am lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful lands in the world and I benefit from it every day that passes. A seemingly stupid idea can become the centerpiece of a whole collection, I manage all the processes alone, from creation to the production of collections and I learned well how from a seemingly meaningless thing, a really important garment can come out.

The visual theme of the SS20 collection was The Pink Panther, the FW20 will be emoji. What is LC23's relationship with pop culture?

I have always had a passion for the world of cartoons in general and I have often used these licenses that have allowed me to include in the collection garments with a more pop flavor and (why not) they also allowed me to have a lot of fun, allowing me to enter crazy photographic archives with thousands of images that made me go back in time.

Beyond the graphics, LC23 is also a tailoring brand. How would you define your ideal man outfit?

I would say it is a classic dress but with a modern flavor: with a fit of the jacket modified, a soft trouser in the volumes and details as with double pence, wide leg and wide bottom. If LC23 is a haute couture brand it is also because I had the opportunity to collaborate with laboratories that have been working for generations for the biggest fashion brands. This allowed me to make people who said that they would never wear it in their lives appreciate the dress, or to kids who at their first parties with friends began to understand that maybe it is better a dress than a jeans with a shirt. My ideal suit is what I have been proposing for three or four years now, maybe half of one color, half of another or half striped, half plaid or a classic pinstripe.

What are your favorite pieces of the new FW20 collection?

I believe that this FW20 is my most successful collection and it also seems to me my most mature collection - this is my greatest satisfaction. My favorite part of the collection is outerwear: especially the transparent down jacket with recycled cashmere padding, but also the printed faux-fur jackets, the jackets-shirts in quilted flannel. Even suits and knitwear are particularly nice. I'd say I like almost everything!

The new FW20 collection of LC23 is available online on the brand's official website.