Claudia F by Claudia Franco
“I am the daughter of immigrants from Lecce, simple people, tireless workers blessed with the gift of love and living with love.” This is how Claudia Franco, designer and creative director of her namesake brand, Claudia F, introduces herself.
Claudia draws her first breath in Germany, close to the fabled Black Forest only to return to Italy shortly thereafter. In her youth, Claudia spends time with her beloved aunt, a seamstress who teaches her niece how to use a needle and thread. She loves to sew, embroider and crochet fabrics that fascinate her.
The economic crisis of the 1970s moves Claudia’s family to the storied city of Turin, and the epicentre of manufacturing in Italy. There she enrolls in teacher’s college focusing on the arts, and ends up working for Gruppo Miroglio, a big player in textiles.
Motivated as can be, Claudia plunges into textile printing. While there, she experiments with digital technology and sees how it is forever changing the enduring art of manually printing textiles. Claudia decides there and then to change direction and embrace the artisan way.
On this new journey, she discovers Shibari, the ancient Japanese form of rope tying and marvels at how humble salt adds another layer of beauty to silk. She experiments with natural dyes, and angles pots of steam to set colours. Her preferred tools, paint brushes…first used on cotton, and then on silk. This practice changes her art and life direction forever.
“One does not work on silk, one works with silk,” says Claudia. “Silk is a living fibre, it guides you, it steers your hands, it becomes a spiritual union, the by-product of which is heart stopping colour. The abstract themes, each one a narrative of experiences, and emotions, they too emerge on the silky surface. A flower, a face, a wall, a wave…every object expressed in an exquisite palette of hues – some strong, vibrant, others delicate and soft, but never banal or commonplace.”
The creative process is methodical and contemplative. It starts with spreading pongee silk onto a frame. Claudia choreographs the canvas using her tools, a brush, a sponge, a roller, each one held by skilled hands. Naturally hypoallergenic water colours turn the blank canvas into a kaleidoscope of breathtaking shades enhanced by the marbling effects of salt, and finally immortalised by steam. The nascent painted silk scarf is then washed and ironed, and once more spread on a frame to rest.
An astounding original work of art is born. The scarf’s “lightness of being” embraced in its silkiness exalts a sense of self and style. For Claudia, a finished scarf means her mission to enrich life with beauty is complete.
Claudia’s deep connection with silk is at the core of Claudia F’s magnificently coloured wraps, scarves, and foulards. Now a longtime resident of Milan, she delights in creating an exclusive line for The Italian Collection (TIC). And, of course, we are thrilled to be presenting her hand painted scarves in pongee silk from the finest weavers in Como.