After studying fine arts, Simonetta Gianfelici moved in the mid-80s from Rome, where she was born and currently lives, to Paris where she appeared in numerous advertising campaigns and on prestigious magazine covers. A prolific career as a top model between New York, London and Paris, she has been immortalized by the greatest photographers across the world. Thanks to her vast experience in the fashion industry, in 2003 she began working as a consultant focusing on scouting for new talent, founding in 2005, the “Who is on Next ?” project in collaboration with Alta Roma, Italian Vogue and Pitti Immagine. She cooperates with the Ethical Fashion Initiative – a programme of the ITC, an agency of the United Nations and the WTO – focusing on scouting for designers and photographers from Africa. In June 2013, she was awarded the high distinction of “Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France”, for her constant commitment to spreading the arts in France and worldwide.What does craftsmanship signify for you?
Craftsmanship means knowledge, tradition, culture. It takes competence, care, time and passion to transform an idea into an outstanding product. It is an ancient story, made of secrets, experimentation, small alchemies and unique objects, requiring sensitivity and respect for the raw materials.How does it feature in your work and life?
I have an authentic passion for the crafts and manual work in general. I work in a creative environment, where imagination leads to the birth of ideas, some of which are destined to remain intangible. To follow a project taking concrete shape in the skilled and expert hands of an artisan has the power to trigger my enthusiasm and happiness. A handcrafted object is like an idea, a wish, and a dream come true.Do you work with craftspeople?
I often work with young up-and-coming designers, and I must say that in recent years they have proved to be the most curious in developing a true interest in recovering time-honoured crafts. To connect established artisans with emerging creative minds is not only vital to their livelihood, but it also leads to extraordinary results.Do you have any stories about the artisans you have selected?
I first set foot in the atelier of Antica Manifattura Cappelli in 1980. Back then, it was still run by an elderly owner. I fell in love with a 1920s cloche hat, and found my way into this small shop in my neighbourhood. I am happy that, thanks to Patrizia Fabbri, this atelier has not only survived but also found skilled hands that continue to produce marvels with unfaltering attention to detail.