Laura met the Italian designer Maria Francesca Pepe in her home in London for a tea and fancy interview.
How does your day get started?
I wish London had more sunny mornings. I hate waking up with the rain. My day usually starts taking care of my garden, checking my night emails and calling my mum who’s in italy. Then I check my plan for the day and make sure I wear the right outfit, while drinking coffee&soya on my way to the office.
What do you enjoy about working with jewellery?
I love wearing jewellery and I am constantly excited of finding new ways to reinvent it. I have many memories about jewellery and I use these memories to find meanings in what I create. I like that jewellery has an immediate reaction. If you like a piece of jewellery you’re compelled to buy it. I particularly enjoy working with artisans. It’s a constant learning process for me and I am fascinated by what hands can make as well as the new technologies. I am passionate also about gems and stones and their healing power. I like thinking what I sell it’s not only something beautiful, but also something that makes you feel better and helps you holding a memory, an emotion.
In every MFP collection I can see a connection to your origins, can you tell me about it?
I’ve always been very independent and quit a rebel character. I come from a small city in Puglia, south of Italy. I left my hometown when I was 18 and moved to Milan. For a while I reacted and I rejected my origins feeling it more as a limit than something to treasure. With years I have learnt that you cannot escape where you come from, but instead you can use those memories to make your work personal and unique.
There’s any special piece in your collections that makes you proud of it?
I rarely feel proud of something. I usually look at my previous work as a starting point to make something even better. Although recently while preparing an Archive Exhibition I looked at some of my initial pieces from the late 2009, such as the brass Lapel necklace or the oversized Tubular and my Chains dresses and applauded myself for having been able to think so much fashion forward.
Do you have a particular muse?
No. It changes constantly depending on people I met and impressed me for some reason.
Can you tell me about your research process, and what means London to you?
Being a designer is a state of mind. Despite where you are and what you do. I get inspired by the simplest things. Like a smell. Or a person walking on the street. London is great cause there is a big variety of people. And smells. That’s why I always felt London as my home. Cause it’s everybody’s home and you can feel and experience this energy anywhere you go.
What’s the place to be in London?
Parks in spring time. When the first sun comes the Londoners fill the parks and you can spend a day chatting, playing, drinking and laughing. One of my favourite is the park in front of Broadway Market in Hackney. And also Parsons Green, in my neighbourhood. In Winter I usually spend my week ends visiting exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Barbican, the White Cube Gallery, the Somerset House, the National Portrait or the Tate Modern.
What do you do to get away from the fashion system?
I spend my spear time with my boyfriend.
What’s your music choice?
I play music to relax. Or to party. My favourite stuff at the moment is Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Rhianna, The XX, The Look..mostly chill and sexy. For a night out I go to dance dubstep or to a fancy dinner in a jazz club in Soho.
What’s your favourite Italian dish?
I eat a lot of mozzarella and tomatoes a La Caprese. My mum sends me virgin olive oil she makes herself with her trees olives. I could live eating this stuff day and night. I also love Cotolette allaMilanese, Gnocchi alla Romana and Pepata di Cozze. I generally love to eat good fresh well made food, and I’d say I am a half decent cook myself! Next time we can do a dinner interview!
Text by Laura De Matteis and photo by Carlotta Cardana