"I believe in the great return of top-class craftsmanship, because today the real luxury is art in the hands”.
Damiana Spoto is a Sicilian stylist with a great eye for trend forecasts. After attending the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome, where she studied clothing and textile design, she gained experience with Romeo Gigli, Giovanni Cavagna and Les copains, before moving to Paris and working in trend research for Nelly Rodi and Lj. Edelkoort, with whom she still collaborates as a consultant. She holds a master in trend forecasting at the Polimoda International Institute of Fashion Design, and afterwards there is also Gucci, John Richmond, Pianura Studio and Alisy.
Her line of le4uadre bags, stoles and scarves came to life in 2015 finding a home in Basilicata.
What is the distinctive feature of your creations?
“le4uadre accessories, all strictly Italian, stand out for their modern and innovative fabrics, versatile shapes and immersive and poetic prints inspired by nature and art. The exclusive designs of le4uadre products come from an inner image, gain strength through graphite drawing or photography and take definite shape through refined, limited edition printing. The skilled hands of Lucanian workers complete the work. A le4uadre is an opportunity to remind yourself that life is just a game, that must be played to the end, and that there is never anything wrong with being still children”.
Which part of your job is crucial to you?
“Prints are what I focus on most and which requires more commitment and effort. They are coloured beats, they have the rhythm and vitality of Sicilian ceramics, of Persian carpets viewed under neon lights. They are something that you do not forget on a table or on a sofa because it calls you, because it shouts colour. People like it because on a subconscious level they recognise details or places they love. I do nothing but reinterpret nature and places that are part of our urban life (from trees to the details of a gothic church …). In this way they are transformed into urban poetry that draws its inspiration from the historic centres of our cities transforming them into harmony. Recently I put a lot of effort into the search for materials that would satisfy a particular desire of mine, such as milk fibre”.
Milk fibre? Where does it come from?
"We are in Italy in the 1930s, in full colonial expansionist campaign. The Kingdom of Italy, with the attack on Ethiopia, breaks the pact of the Covenant of the League of Nations and is condemned to heavy customs duties on imported goods which it did not have within. Hence the need to find valid alternatives to materials in short supply. To replace wool, in 1935, Antonio Ferretti, an engineer from Brescia, developed Lanital, a very Italian autarchic milk fibre. A material that fell into disuse after World War II as a result of the rampant spread of petroleum-based fibres”.
What are its features and advantages?
“First of all, being created from the casein (and from expired milk that should be thrown away), whose amino acids it keeps intact, it has a fantastic, soft and fluffy touch.
In the second place, it is super healthy: antibacterial, it dissipates moisture and acts as a thermoregulator, it protects naturally against UV rays and is dermatologically tested.
Finally, it is compostable, therefore absolutely respectful of the environment”.
Why did the choice fall on such a particular material?
“This pandemic has really shaken me, for the most obvious reasons, but also because it made me reflect on the impotence of Italy, no longer able to find certain products if not depending on others. Having abandoned many productions, we are no longer autonomous today. I believe I felt a little healthy pride. So I did not just want to look for a material that could ensure the utmost respect for the environment (there are now many around), but also a material capable of enhancing Italian genius and work. I did not invent anything, but I wanted to recover a fibre that belongs to our tradition and gives credit to our ability to create beauty and quality”.
Which are your target markets?
“After taking part in several ICE fairs abroad, White and Homi in Milan, Who’s Next in Paris, we built good relationships with Japan, France and Portugal, as well as on the local Italian market and placed a good order in Beijing. We hope to expand the range of action thanks to the online showcase that we have recently inaugurated”.