Isaia SS16 - Q&A with Brian Cook

For starters, what was the inspiration behind SS16?

It was at the end of the seventies, during a time when Naples had a decadent connotation and was seen by many as "pizza and mandolino", a new cultural and musical movement called 'Neapolitan Power' was beginning.

Lucio Amelio, a gallerist and eccentric personality within the artistic community, and young musician Pino Daniele were at the forefront of this movement that brought Naples back to the center of the international cultural map. They were the ones who brought to Naples highly esteemed artists such as Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol and many more.

It was Andy, good friend of Lucio Amelio who fell in love with Naples to the point he compared it to New York.

"I love Naples because it reminds me of New York. Like New York, it's a city that's falling apart, and nevertheless the people are happy like the ones in New York ." - Andy Warhol

From his love for Naples many works were born dedicated to the city; the most important is the series called 'Vesuvius by Warhol' which depicts the volcano in 18 prints at different times of the day.

It's exactly from the specific style of this american artist that ISAIA  gets inspiration to portray, with the colors of the new Spring/Summer collection, the main moments during the production of a sartorial garment.

'Sartorial Neapolitan Power'

With Isaia opening it's first store in New York this past year, Andy Warhol seems like the perfect way to celebrate the milestone from Naples to New York. Once the theme was picked, how did they carry that inspiration to the clothing?

Researching the archives is always important for ISAIA.  We have a long history in Napoli and there are many things to be inspired by that are still relevant and fresh to this day.   That combined with a definite modernity in thinking by the current generation makes ISAIA what it is.  That is the DNA of the brand.   From the original inspiration the themes find their way to the clothing in the over all color stories.  For ISAIA Spring and Summer clothing should always be happy, light and colorful; a very fertile creative ground for the Warhol inspirations.  Our messaging in ads, made to measure presentations and other visual media will reflect that.  The tailored clothing for spring has a nice colorful detail to the under-collar which is a linen effect on a coral repeat.  We change those every season to reflect the theme.   This motif finds its’ way into the sportswear and accessories as well.

On a personal note, what is the biggest takeaway you have learned while working at Isaia?

Mainly, that I am always surprised at what the customer of ISAIA will buy from us.  It seems that ISAIA is a brand where the customer will take a chance and try something new and different.  The customer we have is always up for being entertained by a new fabrication or concept.   As a seller, I appreciate the confidence they put in us.  They know it’s going to turn out well for them.  Personally, I really enjoy the traditional Neapolitan tailoring aspect.  The historical values of this company put it into a very small group of companies.  I really love that we are a 3rd generation, family owned company with very deep roots in Neapolitan culture.  We are a small company still and the owner, Gianluca is a phone call away if I need anything.

One of my favorites traits of working at a small company is the family-like atmosphere. Do you have a favorite memory since you started at Isaia?

I love the family vibe here.  We all help and support each other in our roles and we have all become great friends over the years working together.

Without a doubt, my favorite memory has to be my first trip to Napoli with the team…  Touring our factory and seeing the artisans at work on our product was very inspirational.   After that we went to Capri for the next four days and that experience was amazing.   Being on Capri with Gianluca as a guide and host was truly a once in a lifetime experience.   The easy luxury lifestyle of Capri figures very heavily into the DNA of the brand and being there with him and seeing it all first hand was something I will never forget.  It’s a place that not many people will ever see in their lifetime and I am lucky enough to have been more than once.

Our Isaia Trunk Show and Made-to-Measure event is March 4th and 5th. Please join us along with Brian Cook to see first-hand the quality and craftsmanship of Isaia.

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