Vincent, or Vincenzo Billeci, born in 1988 is a fashion designer native of Palermo. Despite his young age, Vincent is already showing his talent at high levels. Recently, in fact, his collection fall winter 13-14 has been mentioned on Vogue.it in the new talents section. Great sensitivity for Sicilian tradition impoverished by every overdone stereotype and accompanied by a focus on the contemporary. A work of research that takes its cue from religious and anthropological symbolism of Sicily processed carefully observing the figurative arts of our times and structuring a good theoretical research on performance art and body art giving rise to a style that is consistent and adequate. We get to know Vincent better in this interview.
Giuseppe Mendolia Calella: Vincent… tells us more about yourself. Why are you involved in Fashion design?
Vincent: As a child I always wanted to be the stylist; i dreamed the haute couture in Paris. Fashion was not only a passion but a reason for living, a constant commitment that has brought me where I am today. I am involved in fashion because among the visual arts, it is the one I express best, narrating the tale of my land, my aesthetic taste through fashion collections.
A Sicilian soul with no overstatements, tradition and innovation. In your concept and in your stylistic search they seem to be recurring staples… wouldn’t you agree?
Yes! in my collections, there is a very strong bond with Sicily, its traditions and all that religious symbolism so dear to me. At the same time, I always try to reformulate the whole in new aesthetic codes, expressing something extremely contemporary.
You studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo; you have presented a thesis on sculpture as vestment with curator and art historian Laura Barreca. It seems to me that visual arts make a strong impression on you, don’t they?
The Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo was a very important time in my life. The Academy has allowed me to develop a critical conscience and offered and opportunity to experience; as in my work on the thesis: “Art, fashion and technology between XX and XXI century”.
Starting with the first experimentations in the 20th century, the fluxus and the birth of the performance art , together with Emanuela Graci I created a video-installation where through costume, the body is deformed and changes shape, always creating new solutions. Contemporary art is essential in my creative process, in particular those artistic disciplines where the body becomes the instrument of research.
Was there an encounter, a significant moment in your career that you recall as being decisive?
No, there was no precise moment, but many small moments that day after day have allowed me to grow and made me known to a wider public. The publication of the collection fall winter 13_14 on Vogue.it surely represents a very important starting point.
In Sicily, what is the role of haute couture? Is there a system, are there any points of reference?
Someone before me has said: “ The Sicilian women know how to dress well without lacking taste. ” I believe that Sicilian women are truly among the most careful and sophisticated, but at the same time, I think that the role of fashion in Sicily has lost a once known privilege. I would like to mention Donna Florio; she was considered to be the most elegant woman in all of Europe [ … ]. So it is the new generation of Sicilian stylists who have the task of spurring a new stylistic renaissance.
What are you going to be doing in coming months? What are your goals?
I’m already working on the Spring Summer 2014 commuting between Milan and Palermo, and I hope to continue my work to the fullest, and always give more credibility to my brand.