Swedish-Italian creative director Gabriella Verdi started her namesake brand in the U.K. after a 30-year career in fashion, where she experienced a vast array of cultures and styles.
Although born in Sweden, she has lived and worked all over Europe and Asia, developing and producing new collections for some of the world’s most recognisable fashion houses, and it’s this experience of travel and foreign living that serves as the backdrop to the brand.
Her initial collection included a selection of lightweight vanity cases, which was a natural starting point for Gabriella, having always had to compromise on form or function to carry her beauty essentials as she travelled overseas.
“So I set out to change it,” she says.
Gabriella drew inspiration from her mother, who lived in Italy in the 1950s and 1960s and regularly bought dresses, hats, knits and shoes that were all made to order by local artisans. Her mother says they were made with such love and affection that they have stood the test of time and she still has some of these pieces today.
“With this inspiration in mind, I wanted to go back to the craftsmen that I’ve built relationships with over decades, to collaborate on my product concepts,” Gabriella says.
With brand Atelier Verdi, Gabriella wanted to embrace that same slow fashion philosophy, making pieces to order, using traditional methods and keeping artisanal skills alive.
This production concept is central to Atelier Verdi’s ethos. It eliminates overproduction, as only the leather and materials needed to fulfil each order is procured, which minimises waste and removes the need for storage facilities.
For the client, Gabriella says this working model means the label’s exclusivity is maintained while allowing for a closer relationship to gauge the popularity of styles.
Her initial collection - heavily influenced by the glamour and romanticism of early 20th century rail and ocean travel - included a range of matching clutches.
“I particularly love that period; the classic styling and timeless elegance of everything. I wanted to incorporate that into my collection so that each piece looks and feels just as opulent, whether you’re travelling or at home.”
Atelier Verdi’s collections are handmade in boutique Tuscan workshops while leathers are sourced from a nearby world-renowned tannery and are derived exclusively as a by-product of food production. The bespoke hardware is gold plated brass.
“The materials we use, and the craftsmanship involved, means we can produce real examples of genuine luxury...something that’s exclusive and beautiful and keeps its appeal over time. Just as my mother still treasures her pieces after all these years, I hope my customers will feel the same.”
She has followed up her initial collection of leather goods with a capsule collection of ready-to-wear cashmere. Carefully curated to offer a selection of treasured wardrobe essentials, the range uses hand-selected 100% organic cashmere sourced from Inner Mongolia, with the yarn treated, spun, dyed and knitted in Italy.