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BEHIND THE SCENES: The Italian Affair collection by Bastet Noir

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One shoulder ruffle floral print midi dress
The Elena Dress

Somewhere over the high rocky cliffs of Sicily, the vineyards that bathe in sunshine in Toscana, the artful urban streets filled with history of Rome, Milan and Florence and the mesmerizing coast of Amalfi, there’s a woman without whom these places would be just hollow spaces. She brings light to every dark corner of a city and breathes life among those rocky abandoned fields. Her strong presence demands attention, because of her undeniable witchy charm and charisma. Her strength lies in her ability to walk tall in times when she carries the world on her shoulders, run fearlessly from things that no longer serve her and always stand her ground for what she believes in. She is the Italian woman.

The Italian Affair collection is a nod to these women. Inspired by strong Italian female figures throughout history, this collection covers range of classy dresses and jumpsuits, made of rich florals and sassy graphic prints to celebrate women’s voluptuous curves, as well as their internal strength. Each clothing item has its name from a remarkable Italian woman who in some way has contributed to paving the path to emancipation, education and empowerment of women. These courageous historical figures have all contributed to the freedom we enjoy today as women. So these collection is our thanks for all the sacrifices they’ve made. Bellow, we unravel behind the scenes moments of how the inspiration developed from an idea to an actual wearable collection.

1. INSPIRATION BEHIND THE DESIGNS

If you’re a fan of our brand, you should know by now from our previous behind the scenes articles that every process of creating a new collection starts with us picking the cuts and the silhouettes first. So it would be natural to think that this time would be the same, right? Well, not really. This time our inspiration were the incredible women of Italy. Born in different time periods throughout history, these women who came before us were not afraid to be different in times when different was perceived as dangerous. These were women who fought their way into the men’s world and had the courage and strength to educate and empower, proving wrong everyone who ever thought the only role a woman has in life is to be a housewife. We owe everything to these women, for if it wasn’t for their sacrifices, today we wouldn’t enjoy the freedom we currently are as women.

Bare shoulders bodycon dress with floral print
The Sophia Dress

So we’ve decided to pick 10 remarkable and incredibly brave women from the Italian history and have the designs be inspired by them. So who are these women? Well, we’ve started with Monica Bellucci(born 1964), whose incredible performance of fragile and oftentimes complicated characters is a constant inspiration to our team. That and statements like “The single woman is a free woman, and being single does not mean being alone — it means being free to have a relationship or not. This can be scary, but it’s also very interesting”are the reasons we love and admire her. Next one on our list was Franca Viola(born 1948), the rape survivor who’ve campaigned for a change in the law and only decades later have received “The Order of Merit”, as a mark of recognition for her role in improving the status of women in Italy. Eleonora de Fonseca Pimental (1752–1799), Italian poet and revolutionary, whose work was inspiring because of her involvement in the establishment of the short-lived Neapolitan Republic. The first ever woman to get a university degree and receive a PhD in the world was Elena Cornaro Piscopia (1646–1684), whose involvement in education was utterly motivating for us. Speaking of education, Maria Montessori (1870–1952) was not just a simple educator, but a physician and a humanitarian who was the first woman ever to appear on a banknote. Following her footsteps was Tina Anselmi (1927–2016), whose involvement in the Italian resistance movement during World War II, made her Italy’s first ever woman minister. Rita Borsellino’s (born1945) story is a tragic one, having lost her brother to the Mafia in 1992, she became Sicilian anti-Mafia activist, politician and Member of the European Parliament for the Democratic Party. Chiara Saraceno’s (born1941) work as an Italian sociologist captured our hearts with statements like “When measuring welfare, a high index of divorce has been considered negative, but it can also be positive as a sign of a society’s freedom and open-mindedness!”. Franca Sozzani (1950–2016) was one of fashion’s most influential women in the world, as her work as a fashion editor of Vogue Italia remains the most respected in the fashion community. And last, but not least Sophia Loren(born1934), an epitome of Italian beauty and someone who is a pioneer of woman’s self-care “After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”

2. PICKING CUTS & SILHOUETTES

Because the shapes were inspired by different women, all the silhouettes are different. Some of them are loose, while others follow woman’s curves, which makes some of them have a bit of a feminine touch and some of them have a raw edge. For a romantic appeal, we’ve added ruffles and played with different necklines. To make the dresses wearable for daytime we’ve included white cotton hems and to make them appropriate for work, we’ve played with midi lengths. We’ve also included two jumpsuits, one of which you can wear as a work outfit and the other you can totally rock during evenings, as it has the perfect bareback.

Black and green geometric print bareback jumpsuit
The Tina Jumpsuit

3. PICKING THE PRINTS

Summer is all about prints, right? And florals are always the first thing that pop into mind immediately when we think of cute stuff for sunshine. So we’ve picked four floral prints and one geometric print to kind of follow summer’s chill mood, but also stay true to our original vision. We were really careful while picking the floral prints though, as we’ve paid a lot of attention to selecting the colors Italian women wear most during summertime.

One shoulder floral print dress
The Elena Dress

4. STYLING

To capture the true spirit of the Italian woman, our first thought was to go with scarves, gently wrapped around a messy hair, high heels and big chunky earrings. However, our primary focus for this collection was to keep the minimal appeal, so we took the chunky earrings out of the equation and accessorized the look with turbans instead. We thought that turbans will add a dose of a modern twist, thus making the look seem more contemporary and fashionable. So, we’ve collaborated with the amazing accessory brand LaMartinaMonroe accessories to breathe in more life in the collection, or what the Italians like to say make it more “La Dolce Vita”.

Floral print shirt dress
The Rita Dress

5. PHOTOSHOOT 

Choosing a location for a photoshoot is never an easy task to do. We start by brainstorming, bounce some ideas around for weeks and then finally put all of those into a Pinterest board. One look at it will tell you that we were torn between the decision to hit the praries or shoot in a more urban place. What we did know though from the very beginning was that we wanted to shoot this one out in the open and had a very minimalistic approach when it came to the background. And even with all this planning, the final decision was reached just few days before the photoshoot. So when we finally agreed on the location, we went for white concrete spaces and sort of kept the architectural geometric shapes of stairs and building’s edges, as well as played around with shadows that blend in the background to compliment the clothes and avoid the sterile look of a simple white background.

Geometric print maxi dress with plunging neckline and side slit
The Monica Dress

Well, that’s all folks. As we leave you to discover Bastet Noir’s latest collection, the Italian affair, we want to leave you with this following thought. Everything we are as women today, from the access to education we have to the freedom of choice we enjoy, all of it we owe to women like these ten incredibly brave individuals who have paved the way to emancipating women. That is why we choose to celebrate their sacrifices, their lifetime achievements and their struggles. Through their stories, we hope to convey our own, that we stand for women whose fierceness knows no boundaries, whose sense of self is strong and whose belief of achieving everything they set their mind to is unshakable.

Click here to see the entire collection.