No one is more engaged in the pursuit of excellence and beauty than MERCI ME’s pattern cutter and embroidery master Ludovica Misso. Thread and needle at hand, the very true Roman at heart has a chat with content team’s Sarah about her Silk Ribbons and their sublime technique, the power of grey scales and what it means to chase after a life dream.
Which are the main characteristics of this technique?
They are embroideries made entirely at the loom with ribbons (of silk, polyester, organza), and with threads (usually cotton) that are used for the details and the smaller parts. It is also possible to use sequins and beads that are especially useful when it comes to draw precise lines and geometrical shapes.
The embroidery must been very clean and ordered, both front and back on the fabric surface. They are created by using the right hand to pass the needle and the left hand to control the back of the cloth, and to control that all the threads do not tangle or misbehave.
Fabric wise, everything that is 100% cotton is great, as the surface keeps stiff and it’s easier to handle. The cotton used in Mercy’s collection is absolutely perfect: working on it is much simpler than on polyester and anything similar to silk.
My personal style is balanced
between a McQueen’s pattern
structure conception and a subtle,
simple elegance such as Armani’s.
How do you think this technique can be used in Mercy’s collection?
The idea to insert the Silk Ribbons in the collection came to my mind because some of the fabrics chosen by Mercy present very particular flower prints. I thought to take advantage of their lines and employ the Silk Ribbons because they are perfect to make stand out the design of the fabrics.
The idea was to apply full stitches, coloured threads and decorations on lines and geometrical figures, to enrich the overall: with such a defined base as starting point, the work was pretty easily done. For Mercy’s collection we focused more on details and decorations (for example, skirt belts) since many of the fabrics that we used have very strong prints.
On the other side, with a completely plain base the work is longer, because you have to come out with a design and transport it on the fabric directly with hand made embroideries. The process is different and the concentration level must constantly be very high. Though, it is a operation that obviously allows more freedom to express one’s creativity and to do what you want to do with the fabric, perhaps having more fun: with a printed surface you are quite chained to the design and the lines.
My ultimate dream is
to start my own activity.
What do you like the most in Mercy’s collection?
The collection is very clear, there are no signs of indecision or conceptual confusion. It transmits the message perfectly, in a very direct way. The mixture of typical African textures and prints with European lines is a bold and brave tentative to bring back to life a world of fabrics that are, unfortunately, easily labelled as belonging to a specific, too narrow community or cultural imaginary. Mercy vision will open the door to this style to be embraced by a considerable wide portion of the fashion market.
I think this style is incredibly original, and I love all the prints. I can’t say I prefer one to another, they are all amazing!
What is your relationship with colours? How do you like to play with them?
I really like to work with colour gradations because it’s not really in my style to put together very contrasting colours. Colour wise, I would say I have a linear approach. I have a great passion for blacks and whites and for combinations of the two; I also love to work with turquoise, blue and grey scales. They are my ultimate favourites for their timeless elegance.
Is there a style in the history of fashion that you particularly love and that you feel reflects your style best?
For my embroideries, I am strongly influenced by the jewellery design, old and contemporary, especially by brooches, anything with flower motifs and adorned with particular, beautiful stones. On the other hand, my personal style is balanced between a McQueen’s pattern structure conception and a subtle, simple elegance such as Armani’s. I like to start from a masculine base and re-adapt, adjust and modify the piece for a woman body.
I have a linear approach.
What are your projects for the future?
My ultimate dream is to start my own activity. I’m still not sure if it will be here in London or in Italy, it depends on what country will offer me the best opportunities to grow.
On her daily basis, Ludovica (or Lu, but only for the studio crew!) professionally cuts paper pattern and sews prototypes, the sewing machine as a natural extension of hands and mind. Directly from the Eternal City and a family whose story meld with the tailoring tradition almost a century ago, she claims that the passion for sewing and moulding fashion flows in her blood.
After three years of Fashion Design at IED institute and a specialization in pattern cutting and design at Le Grand Chic Academy in Latina, Lu attended an embroidery/Silk Ribbon intensive course at “Scuola di Ricamo Altamoda” in Rome. In March 2014 she moved to London to pursuit her dreams, and she is currently at her third month at Merci Me London as executive pattern cutter.