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COOL FACES OF BASTET NOIR: Meet Maria Saporito, fashion illustrator

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This world belongs to the dreamers, those who dare to see things differently, those who have no respect for the status quo, the rebels who challenge and push boundaries. These are the people whose unique vision transforms the world as we know it by coloring it with the most intense shades of imagination. And as the rest of the human kind feeds of of that imagination, new horizons appear turning the world into a hive of infinite possibilities. Within those rare moments when options attain limitless potential, art is born and because of it, even if it feels like it’s just for a brief moment, beauty surrounds us, becoming the reality we live in. And we owe it all to the few daring ones, those who dream awake.

Illustrations by Maria Saporito
Illustrations by Maria Saporito

Maria Saporito, a fashion illustrator whose drawings depict fashion in the most interesting way, belongs to this new generation of women dreamers who refuse to bow to convention. Where other people see just a simple landscape photo or a discarded leftover banana peel, Maria sees a dress. Her sketches, an eclectic mixture of photography and illustration have won the hearts of fashion’s heavy weights making her dream become a reality at the age of 18 when the prestigious fashion house Maison Valentino shared one of her illustrations on Instagram. Since then the interest for her one of a kind drawings has spread like wild fire across social media, attracting the attention of huge fashion names like Anna Dello Russo and fashion houses like Roberto Cavalli, Marchesa and Oscar de la Renta who followed suit quickly after. But despite her wildly huge success, the most impressive thing about her is not her fame, but rather her approachability, humbleness and deep appreciation for what made her the woman she is today. Read on as she shares how she got discovered, what it was like to work with such influential fashion names and her ultimate dream of becoming a fashion designer in the latest edition of Cool Faces of Bastet Noir.

BASTET NOIR: Tell us a bit more about your beginnings… Who is Maria Saporito?

Maria Saporito wearing the terra cotta midi dress by Bastet Noir
Maria Saporito wearing the Athena Dress

MARIA SAPORITO: Who am I? A dreamer, that’s all. I’ve been drawing since when I was a girl, I used to imagine how a biscuit could become a dress. Then I started discovering the fashion world, something magical where you are free to be yourself, I started working early in a casual and natural way without even realizing, I owe it all to Instagram.

BASTET NOIR:What would you say was the single most important thing that got you to where you are today?

MARIA SAPORITO: Believing in myself, always, in my abilities without limits and thinking that we can do anything if we really want to! Also my motto is “Carpe diem”, do what you have to do now, never put off till tomorrow and this motto helps me a lot!

BASTET NOIR: You’ve collaborated with fashion heavyweights among which Valentino , Oscar de la Renta , Roberto Cavalli. What was it like working with such influential names in the fashion industry?

Illustrations by Maria Saporito
Illustrations by Maria Saporito

MARIA SAPORITO: Everything started when Maison Valentino shared my illustration on Instagram, I was 18 years old and in that exact moment I was in a gym class at high school. Since then I started believing in what I was doing, so I kept doing fashion illustrations and brands like Cavalli, MSGM, Marchesa or people like Anna dello Russo, Giovanna Engelbert etc., shared my illustrations on their social media. One day I got an email from Oscar de La Renta, they wanted to do fashion illustrations and videos of me sketching for their social media channels. I was young but it was like I’ve always been doing the job of the fashion illustrator, but I only just realized what I did and I’m very thankful!

Maria Saporito wearing the terra cotta midi dress by Bastet Noir
Maria Saporito wearing the Athena Dress

BASTET NOIR: As a fashion illustrator your work includes transforming everyday objects and scenery into fashion. That’s kind of like your thing. We love how all of your illustrations are different and yet there’s a common thread that unites them all. You’ve mentioned in an interview you did for ShakeMyMag that impressionism is the artistic current that represents you the best. Curious to know what is it exactly about that particular movement that inspires you?

MARIA SAPORITO: Absolutely, everything is natural and immediate. Impressionists used to sketch en plein air to catch the impression of that moment and then they paint in their studio. I do the same thing, if I see a dress in a manhole, first I take the picture and later I draw the dress in my studio.

BASTET NOIR: What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

MARIA SAPORITO: I’ve collaborated with Tesori d’Oriente for its anniversary. I had to do an illustration with their shower cream and obviously I saw a bag and I did an illustration of a lady walking with the shower cream as a bag, it was really funny.

BASTET NOIR: Biggest achievement you’re most proud of

MARIA SAPORITO: I’m really proud of my collab with Vogue, I’m one of the first stories told on Vogue International new Instagram page and it’s an honor to represent Italy through my fashion illustrations. Vogue is going to have a party for its first birthday, and I can’t wait to attend the party in London!

Maria Saporito wearing the terra cotta midi dress by Bastet Noir
Maria Saporito wearing the Athena Dress

BASTET NOIR: Biggest failure and what you learnt from it?

MARIA SAPORITO: I don’t believe in failure, especially if you give your best when you do something. Unfortunately, bad things can happen during your life, but you have to spin it to your advantage. That’s the secret, see the positive in a negative thing, it sounds trite but that’s it!

BASTET NOIR: Favorite female empowerment speech

MARIA SAPORITO: I always listen to female empowerment speech, just to get inspired and to believe in women and our power. If I have to choose my favorite speech is by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson at a special event for the HeForShe campaign.

Emma Watson’s UN 2014 speech

She said ” I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

I think we should all be feminist, I believe in girl power, I always been one of that girl who wanted to play football and I always wanted to be considered strong as boys. This is why I have a parallel life, I’m an athletic coach, I love motivating my team, the goal is to project strength, courage and power.

BASTET NOIR: Best and worst part about your job

Maria Saporito wearing the terra cotta dress by Bastet Noir
Maria Saporito wearing the Athena Dress

It’s not like a job! I love what I do, I could draw all the day. I think this the key to life, you don’t have to work to live but you live to do this job..I couldn’t live without art and fashion. The bad part is when you’re not inspired and you have deadlines to do, but that’s a part of the job, I love finding new way to get inspiration like doing travels, reading or visiting exhibitions.

BASTET NOIR: What’s your next move?

MARIA SAPORITO: Turn my illustrations into clothes, I want to switch paper and brushes into textiles and scissors. I’m studying fashion design, as soon as I finish the studies, you’ll see on my feed not only drawings but real clothes to wear!

BASTET NOIR: What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?

MARIA SAPORITO: The Athena dress, I’m in love.

Maria Saporito wearing the tera cotta dress by Bastet Noir
Maria Saporito wearing the Athena Dress

There’s a well known saying that goes something like this “Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real”. This rare breed of humans abides by it. That’s probably why they lead such interesting lives and have incredible stories to tell. Maria is one of them as her illustrations portray the different side of life, one where everything is possible, one which blends in both fantasy and reality and in a world that becomes darker by the minute we need women warriors like her to brighten it up. 

We love strong, confident and self reliant women, so if you think you got what it takes, send us an email with your Instagram account and the story you’d like to share and you might just become Bastet Noir’s next cool face.

If you liked Maria’s story, there’s plenty more to come, just hit that sign up button to get in our inner circle of coolness and never ever miss a thang.