Vincenzo Palazzo fondly speaks of his hometown, Putignano, a small town in the Itria Valley. The founder and creative director of an up and coming Italian fashion brand, VIEN, Palazzo now lives in Milan but recalls many wonderful memories of the village, and one, in particular, that stirs up magical feelings: the flashback of a falling veil covering the old town with its colors and lights.
To that, we say, one can seek to leave Puglia, but the spirit of Puglia never leaves you.
VIA’s Style Contributor, Tatevik Avetisyan, speaks with Vincenzo about the creative journey into his young label and offers traveler insight into the most preferred and dearest spots in Puglia.
The name of the brand, VÌEN, comes as a wordplay – Vi for Vincenzo and En for Elena, his best friend and brand’s pattern maker. This combination was intentional in order to escape the association of the brand both with his persona or specific ethnicity as if he wanted to distance himself to some extent. Although it reminds Vincenzo of Vienna, in particular the Vienna secession, an art movement related to Art Nouveau in the late 1800s, it is a simple yet strong signature to remember. The amalgamation of two distinct individuals reflected not only on the merge of initials but also on the style that the brand promotes. The 100% Made in Puglia label reinterprets Italian tradition by introducing contemporary design into its DNA.
With an interesting hashtag on Instagram #ismellyouonmyclothes for his previous collections, Palazzo purposefully arouses the wearer. During Milan Fashion Week, VÌEN presented its SS21 collection at the Society of Fine Arts and Permanent Exhibition space. The story behind his latest collection narrates the beginning of the 20th century Vienna Secession period, or as he calls it, ‘the new Rinascimento’. This was when the Association of Austrian Artists went against traditional academic styles, striving toward modernism. He imagines the period when people were communicating elegance and grace with such big names as Gianni Agnelli, Anouk Aimee, Fellini, and Mastroianni in the mid 20th century with a ‘dolce vita’ philosophy to reference in his works.
“The sartorial ‘know-how’ and ‘making of’ from the past is teleported to the present, a new modern world, from that era to the current one, all these inspirations get transformed by subculture. From rocker to mod, punk to rapper, VÌEN is a clash of moods, style, and feelings, trying to live as one,” describes Vincenzo.
His creative process is split into two different paths, one of which follows his mantra and brand’s DNA – ‘Modern classic’ and the other collects the inspirations from music, traveling or a book he reads during that period. The idea to bring concepts from the past and deliver to the current generation resulted in the inspiration behind his SS21 collection. “The world I build inside my mind in that specific moment of my life, it gives birth to the collection in terms of style, mood, and inspiration,” says Vincenzo. As a future aspirant, he would love to collaborate with a brand that comes with a strong historical heritage.
“We all should live with an inner soundtrack.”
The grey pleated skirt, raincoat, and leather belt with a small, hanging bag express sophistication and self-confidence. Modern lines go in hand with the color palette and John Lenon’s quote written on the VÌEN shirt: “Everything will be ok in the end if it’s not ok it’s not the end” the collection breathes postmodernism. It reminds one of the old newspapers and the unpredictable spring weather.
We’re still intrigued, and delve a bit deeper to get a glimpse of his personality.
Describe Puglia in one sentence.
Pure state of mind.
What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
The advice to give aspiring designers is to follow their dreams
and passions. To be a designer is to be an artist. The process is
the same as all the other forms of art: music, painting, literature,
and so on.
What is your personal staple accessory that goes everywhere with you?
Too many! My shades.
External motivation or internal inspiration: what most drives you to grab the sketchbook?
Imagining the emergence of my feelings and my inner world coming to life is what drives me the most.
Your favorite musician you wish you could dress?
It’s difficult to name just one! Bob Dylan, John Frusciante,
and Cat power are some of my favorites, but I’d prefer dressing
a whole subculture, rather than just one of them.
Dinner in Puglia: at home or in a restaurant?
Dinner at my grandma’s house! Not a single amazing
restaurant in the world can compare to dinner at my
What book is on your bedside table
Marguerite Yourcenar’s “Memoirs of Hadrian”.
If a restaurant, what’s your favorite spot?
When I’m in Putignano, I love going to “Chi va piano”,
without a doubt! It’s my go-to restaurant when I’m in
my hometown. The chef/owner is a real visionary, and
the offering is more a way of living than eating.
How do you spend a day off?
Drinking good natural wine, listening
to music, imagining what I can create
What’s more therapeutic: silent meditation or music playlist?
Music. We all should live with an inner soundtrack.
Discover VÌEN’s collection :
Stores in Puglia:
Tatevik Avetisyan is a Milan-based freelance writer specializing in fashion, travel, and art. Her master project for Istituto Europe di Design, “Which Character Are You?” fashion film was published in Vogue-Talents. She leads her fashion blog and travels around the world in search of new inspirations. Besides content creation, her biggest passion is jewelry design and gardening.