Italian style is a special mix of theatricality, exquisite tailoring and the Mediterranean sun that always uplifts. Andrea Ferolla, fashion illustrator and artist-in-residence at Hotel Eden in Rome, discusses the attitude and allure at the heart of Italian style as well as the lively art at the tip of his pen.
Capturing the mood
Those enjoying a drink at Hotel Eden’s La Libreria lounge or Il Giardino Bar, with its stunning vista of Rome, might spy Andrea Ferolla in a corner with sketchpad in hand, capturing the mood. The artist-in-residence is on-site sketching his signature expressive vignettes of Hotel Eden’s quintessentially Italian lifestyle, moments in its history, and eminent past guests. As contributor to the latest Assouline title, ‘Italian Chic’ – and an Italian himself – he knows La Dolce Vita. Collect catches up with him, pen and notepad in hand.
For you, what is the essence of Italian chic?
A sense of measure, sense of proportion, sense of beauty.
And, what is unique about Roman style?
The Roman style is the result of stratifications, of excessive triumphal eras and excessive disasters that have left traces and signs in the city and also in its citizens. The disenchanted gaze of the Romans means “we come from afar, we have seen everything, nothing will ever amaze us.” But then they are moved by a well-cooked Carbonara.
Why does Italian style lend itself well to illustration?
Most Italians are naturally theatrical in attitude. Their movements, mannerisms, posture and gesture emphasize the intention in a rhetorical and sensational way. For me, as a figure painter rather than a landscape painter, it is a pleasure to follow the “show” and reinterpret it at the tip of a pen.
For your Hotel Eden residency, what special locations have you in mind for sketching?
Hotel Eden has a special charm, dictated by its long history, extraordinary guests and breathtaking views. The lobby with the impeccable livery staff, the Il Giardino Bar vibrant with life, and its terrace overlooking Rome…
What inspires you to sketch?
Certainly, it is the movement, the gestures. And, definitely, the sense of fashion. As a fashion illustrator, “I see” silhouettes that walk elegantly on imaginary runways almost everywhere…
What role do you believe sketches have in our photo-saturated times?
The digital age has made photography a daily tool for everyone. A universal efficient language but debased in its most noble properties. A sketch is an artistic, powerful, imaginative gesture. It is the most adherent visualisation of the non-visible. Sketch is a form of luxury.
Which art or fashion illustrators are the “greats” in your eyes?
I deeply love the work of Marcel Vertès, Jean Cocteau, Christian Bérard. And, among the contemporaries, David Downton, Richard Haines, Gill Button and Carlos Aponte.
What is your favourite part about Hotel Eden?
The spirit of international grand hotel is evident at first glance. But casual and sincere warmth of its employees is its winning feature. Italian hospitality in its best form.
© Yaffa Assouline for Collect magazine N°25
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