Fashion That Unnerves
Francilla and Michelangelo thought up Coreterno while touring the streets of Lower East Side Manhattan a few years ago. “It was a dream, an omen, now it’s a reality,” they say. And yet Coreterno is Roman to the core—refined and precious as Italy’s capital city. It is, in fact, headquartered in Rome, on a marvelous old backstreet forgotten by time, an enclave of creative and magical secrets.
The name, Coreterno, also calls to mind the city of unequalled beauty, and is the result of merging together two words. “Core” means heart in Roman dialect and fulcrum or nucleus in English. “Eterno” is homage to the proprietors’ Roman character. “For us it stands for creativity and full-blooded passion—the driving forces, the linchpin behind the Italian spirit, which is limitless; in fact, we want to export it out of our country.”
Starting in Rome
Their studio is located in an eighteenth-century castle hidden among the modern buildings of Rome that have sprung up around it. Here, the young pair concocts its line of accessories. From the start their passion was suckled by the city’s legendary history, political squabbles and the beauty of its ancient palazzos. Living in Rome “constantly reminds us that we are the product of the work and dreams of all those who came before us.
We want to bring a piece of that spirit to the frenetic and, at times, too speedy New York.” The young couple love to refer to themselves as “animals on stage.” They have always worked in fashion and art. They believe in change, in rebirth, which is exactly why Coreterno is the creative product of their encounter. Their work should be looked at closely, grasped, held in one’s hands.
They combine an eighteenth-century Victorian heart with elements of teenage slang, Rock symbols and Punk icons. Francilla and Michelangelo have long aspired to create fashion that unnerves, “to carve an aesthetic cliff against the sea of uniformity, to make accessories, rock star houses, philosophers’ closets, serial killers’ sock drawers, to make the world [their] stage.” And that’s just what they’ve done.
The first step was to offer the public a line of “Dis.Order” t-shirts, which became an instant social phenomenon, sported by V.I.P.s from the music and film industry, including J-Ax, Fedez, Emma Marrone, Arisa, Alessandro Cattelan and many others. “One day we got a phone call. It was Asia Argento, the Italian actress and director. She wanted us to make her outfit for the red carpet at Cannes,” the pair tells us, beaming.
Next came their line of home décor products—their “Healing Candles” being the highlight—and accessories (their handbags come out next season). The candles are carefully crafted by hand using organic wax. They have a timeworn, vintage charm, with black-and-white labels bearing phrases about moods and frames of mind, because the couple “believes in the immense beauty and salvific power of the word.
There’s a subtle magic in the latter, since they have the power to change people’s moods.” The candles are sold by tons of retailers in Rome, although the couple has a website (www.coreterno.com) where you can purchase items from all of their product lines: t-shirts, candles, pillows.
Getting to New York
You’re probably wondering where you can find them in New York. For now they have made appearances at flea markets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where the public ate them up; they might just suit American tastes even more. “For us, the results were very positive. We were pleased with the reviews of our products in the New York Post. And on February 1-4, we were at the Javits Center for NYNOW, where we presented our complete collection of Healing Candles to the American market.”
Well, we at i-Italy wish this gutsy couple the best of luck and hope they’ll continue to thrive on their magical and dreamlike trip abroad.