Designer Rocco Pistolesi is not the typical person to have a conversation with. The designer, who lives and works in a small medieval town called Torre San Patrizio, reveals not only his passion for footwear and jazz music, but also the true values of the "Made in Italy" mark. "Principe Di Bologna" niche footwear history, which began more than 60 years ago, as well as the "Rocco P." brand are currently know all over the world and appeared in DOLITA stores 15 years ago. Since then, each season it becomes one of the most anticipated and intriguing footwear to its customers.
Designer Rocco Pistolesi
Let's start from the very beginning. Why footwear? What were your first memories related to shoes?
It's easy to answer this question, considering the fact that, since my very first year at school, I would spend time doing my homework in a small room which, in addition to a small desk and a chair, also contained leather rolls of all possible types and sizes that were neatly sorted on the ground.
What encouraged you to learn more about footwear and search for something that would be unusual, interesting and would defy the mainstream trends?
The thing that pushed me into this field largely depends on my personal view on beauty – non-standard, deep and timeless. My hero Serge Gainsbourg once said "I have what they call an unconventional face". I adore Serge Gainsbourg.
The creative synthesis of "Rocco P." seems innovative, yet also nostalgic at the same time. Tell us about you design philosophy – what are the main elements of "Rocco P."? What philosophy do you follow when creating your work?
I especially love the word "nostalgic", because nostalgia is related to deep feelings and memories, it never goes out of fashion and involves those who have lived and live their lives intensely, with a flair. That is why I try to create things on forms that never get old – on the contrary, they become increasingly valued over the years.
When the form is perfect, it is necessary to be as purified as possible. I would say that purity and clearness is the distinctive element as well as the foundation stone of my brand. The creative process is dictated by the search for these particular elements and the aspiration for completeness.
How would you imagine the customer of "Rocco P."? What does he do and what does he buy? Is footwear an important part of his style?
The customer of "Rocco P." never separates form and content from each other. When he is buying something, he knows why he is buying it, therefore he wins. He strives for uniqueness, but not at any cost. His need is born from within, and never from the dictate of fashion trends.
Part from "Rocco P." collection and shoes sketches
What are your favorite shoes? Do you sacrifice style for comfort? Or maybe you are looking for a compromise?
I never look for compromises.
What is the personal style of Rocco Pistolesi?
I consider myself as modern, nostalgic, dandy, and giving priority to internal culture and good manners.
The beginning of creation. How would you describe your creative process? Where do you start? Or maybe you use certain rituals to start your work?
The creative process is never-ending. It is impossible to establish a proper time to create. Creation continuously feeds on dreams and real situations, and can often simply not be consciously controlled. If it is expressed openly, then sometimes, whether you want it or not, it reveals itself in areas of life that seemingly have nothing to do with it.
Inspirations from Rocco Pistolesi office
The world is moving at a very fast pace. One technology replaces another. "Rocco P." focuses on time-tested technologies that are passed down from generation to generation. However, you combine innovative design and technologies with traditions. What are the most interesting materials for you to work with? Which colours and leathers are mostly used for the "Rocco P." collections?
We should never forget that we are the children of history. The connection between the old and the new is eternal and unbreakable. I listen to rap, even though I am a jazz musician... What future is there without the past? I like things that do not have an expiration date. I would never reject black and white.
What does the "Made in Italy" mark mean today?
A large number of my colleagues, and even the government, contributed to the fact that "Made in Italy" mark no longer means anything. I would like to strongly advise consumers to be more careful when purchasing certain products, but it is not easy to give advice. Very often, more often than expected, products marked with "Made in Italy" are actually imported from China, Taiwan, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Tunisia, Spain and Portugal.
In order to distance myself from all of this and considering the fact that I greatly support products that are truly "Made in Italy", many years ago I have started to mark my products with "Made in Torre San Patrizio", which is a small medieval town where, about 60 years ago, my father and my uncle started an adventure with „Principe Di Bologna“.
"Made in Italy" means creation linked to thousands of years of art, culture and the history of the philosophy of life.
Rocco P." is named by fashion observers as representative of niche footwear. What does it mean for Rocco Pistolesi to be a part of this field?
It means to choose instead of being chosen.
Ulderico - Rocco Pistolesi father
Hand made - is heart made | Rocco Pistolesi at work
Patrizio - master working more than 30 years. He is responsible for the quality of leather and all measurements to the production of footwear.
Rocco Pistolesi and music. Do you yourself create jazz music? Do you listen to it when creating?
Music is life. All of our everyday life merges into combinations of sounds which give birth to melodies. I could not work nor live without music. The fact that I'm a musician myself is simply a small detail.
"Rocco P." is instantly associated with the words unusual, intellectual and thought-provoking. A lot of people might say that such epithets are not suitable for the creation of fashion. How should this be conveyed when creating footwear.
If "Rocco P." is associated with these words, then I want to thank the person who asked this question, because this is one of the most beautiful compliments that I have receives throughout my entire career.
Fashionable items are those that are trendy, and trends do not last longer than three months, therefore they do not really need to be intellectual and unusual. And they definitely do not need to be thought-provoking.
A designer with his band "Small Change Jazz Project"
Part from "Rocco P." collection for men
The intriguing thing is that the description of "Rocco P." states that this brand is intended for not only poetic and non-typical people, but also for those who are a little crazy. Today's fashion dictates that there are no more trends and we must preserve and nurture our own uniqueness. Therefore, can we half-seriously say that "Rocco P." has foreseen the direction of fashion?
In one of his interviews in the seventies, Pierre Cardin, who was one of the greatest artists of the last century, said that "fashion is dead“.
Part from "Rocco P." collection for women
In fashion, the line between the masculine and the feminine is lately disappearing, and disappears almost completely in "Rocco P." collections. How should we then assess the line separating masculine and feminine sexuality? Maybe such a line should not even exist nowadays?
Sexuality is a state of mind.
What is your vision of modern femininity or its image?
Modern femininity should be expressed by those women who, despite being females by gender, do not forget the fact that they are women. I far too often encounter either one type of these women or the other. It is very rare to see both of these figures merged into one.
Where will "Rocco P." go from here? What legacy will this brand leave in 5, 10 or even 50 years?
"Rocco P." will be… constant!