Who is Francesca Romana Correale?
I was born in to a very traditional, down-to-earth family from which I learned to appreciate beauty when defined by quality. Such beauty could be found in both a person’s personality and in objects. When I was just four, I emigrated to Venezuela, at a moment in which the country was going through a dynamic reality of growth and wellbeing, and the spirit of the whole entity was building a new world. This ambience was the breeding ground for the ideas carried out by great architects, artists and writers… among which was the Italian Gio Ponti.
Cultural traits from the entire world were generously interwoven creating a unique dynamic. This vitality has lived on inside me.
How was this revolutionary “handle concept” born?
Venezuela has taught me to search relentlessly for beauty in the true nature of things and people. To go beyond the limits of what is possible and to refuse any sort of compromise. I have always sought, I still seek, infinite beauty, be it in people, art, fashion or in poetry and music. What the “new world” teaches you is that you can create from scratch. Therefore, beauty, in my imagery, is not a fixed line and is not limited by the legacy of an oppressive, ever present, past. The “new world” has taught me to believe in and to look for small, true revolutions. Everything seems, and is, possible. And this is how the seed for these handles has grown: slowly, over a long time.
How do you explain your creativity?
My creativity is born from observation and from questioning the rules. It is born from the stimuli that subconsciously I have received from my contact with art, music, people and nature. For instance, I speak of “questioning the rules” because normally, when designing a fashion product, you must follow certain rules.
These rules are rarely broken because there are marketing and production requirements that prevent it. I have asked myself whether it was really necessary, in order to define a product, to repeat a brand a thousand times over, thus suffocating it and making it ugly. Besides, bags have become vulgar due to the indiscriminate use of accessories, which just underlines what those bags are not. The result is an object that can be beautiful but is intentionally short-lived. Its interest and wearability will last only for one season. Instead, I have intended to do the opposite: to give aesthetical prominence to pure lines and basic elements, devoid of the concept of time. My purpose is to create objects that are immediately recognisable and referable to the brand at first sight. Instantly. As it is actually happening. Girls walk past a lady with one of my bags and they go “ahhh, that’s a Correale bag”. This is the ideal and the backbone of the RC brand.
Why are you so bound to territory? Why are you so strongly passionate about this fight for local production, with such high costs and long production times?
My brand is strongly bound to territory. The human side of this brand has deep roots in the Siena region, in its culture and landscape. I’d even dare say, in the food of the Siena region. Choosing ostrich leather was no accident. These animals were, until not so long ago, even bred in the Tuscany region. This is a worldly sense of beauty. It is fully linked to handcrafts and attached to the quality of local products.
This is, by definition, a territorial brand.
However this Brand is also, undoubtedly, very, very personal, isn’t it?
Yes, indeed. RC is infused with my personality, and yet it is also an ideology. This ideology is shown in the durability of its products which, due both to their quality and their design, would like to travel through time and belong to any season or generation. RC is, by definition, the antithesis of fashion.
Why have you chosen to be in the social media?
This is another very personal choice. I have a frantic need to communicate, for which my dearest and most distant friends can testify. The brand faces the world and communicates with it in the same way I communicate with my loved ones: in an open, honest, constant manner.
The only situation in which I “do not communicate or refuse communication” is when I am in deep distress or sorrow. I rarely want or seek to open up to the others at these times.
According to you, what is the perfect object?
The perfect object, for me, has no time or sex, but it does have a soul!
Just like angels. I think I have achieved such perfection only in the Skull computer bag in ostrich leather. It is bought and desired by men and women alike. Besides, it is eternal in its quality and practicality. Whoever has one, defends it with their very life!
Why this extreme need to go personally to supervise the leather and the accessories used to make your bags?
Great chefs are distinguished from other ones because they want to go to the market to buy the best produce for their recipes. Making a bag is not so different. I wanted to create a true product, something that existed even if deprived of its brand. Something that could be recognised by its quality and style, not by its logo.
This is the hardest path, because it’s all uphill.
These days many bags are no more than sacks covered all over in logos. These women go around practically selling and showing no more than “hot air”. I wonder how long this can last? Especially in the luxury market. I think it won’t last long. The woman who buys my bags does not need or want to show off luxury. When you think that these days there are men who request that the badges identifying model and engine are removed from their cars, this should give something to think about to those selling luxury products. And this happens because those men want to be identified with the lines and the quality of the brand they chose, without it being too present on the product itself. Try a test with one of my bags and a canvas bag from a big brand. The latter will be recognisable from a distance, mostly by the logo printed all over. While my bag will be recognisable from the same distance by its style and by the beauty of the leather in the sunshine. This is what creating a product means to me… Creating a beautiful bag.
Besides, innovation makes it even more difficult to produce an imitation that will only satisfy those who want to hide behind a logo. Copying my bags and their engineering, born from the hands of the most skilled Italian craftsmen, is surely not very profitable in the counterfeit market, which would much rather have products that are easy to introduce into the black market.
Why should a woman choose RC?
A woman should choose RC only if she feels the need to escape clichés and wants to be at the avant garde with style and quality, knowing that her personality has been defined by herself and by her behaviour. But never as a substitute for her personality nor for her potential. These are something you are born with, not something you become. This woman is a dynamic woman, in perpetual movement, able to manage work and family without losing her femininity.