Intrigued by the idea of a local company dedicated to luxury hosiery made in Italy, I decided to meet Vienne, founder and designer of VienneMilano, in her studio in Waltham.
Surrounded by the gloss, purple boxes used to deliver her luxury thigh highs to clients, Vienne, whose family is originally from Hong Kong, begins by telling me when she first visited Italy.
“I used to be in school choir – we performed classical music. When I was fifteen, we had a trip plan to perform all over Italy: in Rome, Venice, and other cities. We landed in Milan, which is the first European city I ever visited, and I liked it right away, it was so awesome”.
Vienne loves, of Italy, its food (“so different from the Italian food that you can find here”), its art (“when I was in Venice, I was so amazed by the paintings! They looked so realistic and tridimensional to me, that sometimes I couldn’t say if they were paintings or sculptures”) and its people. (“Italian culture is very family oriented. In this way, it’s similar to the Chinese culture, and this is probably why I’ve always felt a strong connection with Italians.”)
But, above all, Vienne has a passion for Italian fashion and she thinks Italians always look very fashionable in their everyday attires.
“The way Italians dress is expressive, artistic and bold. It’s a clean-cut look, with one thing that makes it pop — for example a red pair of pants, or a colored belt, or a stylish scarf. I find that especially Italian men are extremely well dressed, and they really care about details.”
In particular, Vienne loves Italian tight highs (autoreggenti) that, she says, are hard to find here in the States.
“I like hosiery, but I couldn’t find the right pair here: they are either of poor quality and uncomfortable, or super expensive. Besides, in the US they are mostly considered scandalous Halloween products. In Europe, instead, they are an elegant, stylish item, intended for strong, confident women.”
Vienne decided to design tight highs for the American audience, and in particular for women who want to reveal their style and confidence. Her designs are versatile and can be worn in different occasions, which she categorized in work, play, party and love. Keeping in mind the cold, windy winter of Massachusetts, many tight highs from her Fall Collection are made of thick, warm materials (150 denier), which make them practical, as well as fashionable.
Not only does her inspiration come from Italy, but her hosiery pieces are completely manufactured there. This is an interesting choice, considering that so many Italian brands outsource the manufacture of their products to other countries instead.
“My pieces are made in Northern Italy – I believe Italy is the place to go if you’re looking for high quality luxury products. You can easily recognize the amazing craftsmanship behind an item produced there, making it stand out from the others. Moreover, there is another advantage in a “made in Italy” item: Americans appreciate Italian products, and find Italy an inspirational country. Customers instantly associate Milano with high fashion, and sometimes – she jokes – they are satisfied of VienneMilano products even before trying them on.”
Valentina can be followed on her fashion and style blog, Think Outside the Purse.