Florence, Italy -- On the occasion of the Florence's Center of Fashion's 60th anniversary, Pitti Uomo's 86th edition and the inauguration of Emilio Pucci's "Monumental Pucci" installation, Laudomia Pucci sits down with NOWFASHION and talks about her late-father's career, artistic evolution, passion for his home city and even his brief career as an army pilot. Surrounded by 19th century oil paintings of her noble Florentine family and in the comforts of the majestic 15th century ancestral Pucci family palace in Florence, Laudomia explains why the fashion maestro's legacy and work live on and continue to captivate the hearts of the world's most famous fashion icons.
NOWFASHION: As seen at the recent exhibit "Emilio Pucci and Como", your father's artistic style has undergone many evolutions - from more architectural, landscape-inspired illustrations to more geometric almost psychedelic prints. Why do you think that is?
LAUDOMIA PUCCI: [In the beginning] He was relying more on what he really liked and inspired him. When he got strength in that and he was really confident, he went off in his own line. In my early days, working with my father, I realized he knew exactly what he was going on. He had an inner camera and a video in his brain. He knew what he was doing. He was so so visual.
His father was an artist. His grandmothers were Russian, so that was an explosion of color, detail and opulence.
His prints always had movement. The movement that he infused into his prints, came from his career in the army when he was a pilot. He would fly for hours over the water. He could not stand prints that didn't have a certain something to it. It was funny, when you started to draw with him, he would tell you that it wasn't moving.
He didn't want to be called an artist. He did not think he was an artist. For him the artist movement stopped with the Renaissance. For him it was decoration, pleasure and fun and what he was seeing, souvenirs of a trip. But he was very much of an artist.
NF: What is your favorite Pucci era or print?
LP: I change, it changes. It's like something you have always seen and always known. It's like your favorite dish... You haven't eaten it for a while and then you say, I have to have that. It's a question of moments and your sensitivity in that moment.
NF: Why did you choose the Baptistery of Piazza San Giovanni as the monument to be draped in Pucci print?
LP: What we are trying to show to what extent Florence was an influence on his creativity. We were thinking of this and it made so much sense. The idea was quite outside of the box. What was amazing is that Florence - both the Opera del Duomo and the municipality were generous enough to allow us to do it.
NF: What were some of your father's favorite Florentine landmarks?
LP: Home. He adored this place. He restructured it after the war. He was very happy here.
NF: What would he have thought of all this Pitti Uomo madness - the crowds, cameras and international media attention?
LP: First of all, my father would be 100 years this year. One should never interpret with yesterday's eyes tomorrow.
What I definitely know that he felt a bit like he was an ambassador of the city. My great grandfather was the mayor of Florence. My father probably regretted not having been mayor of Florence.
To see Florence taking life, to be a center of tourism that is not only a museum tourism or cultural tourism, but a fashion tourism that brings business and to see Pitti that he started and was a part of today - he would be very proud of everybody.
NF: What do you think Peter Dundas and your father have in common in terms of artistic design?
LP: What I love about Peter is that when he is fitting dresses - it could be me or a model - the care in making that body to look beautiful, modern, feminine. Peter is probably a little more sexy than my father but it also has to do with time.
NF: How do you feel about becoming interim CEO of the Pucci label after being image director?
LP: I am very thankful for the great trust that my family and I have from the (LVMH) group.
Having said this, I have always felt the brand very much one of my duties. I was running it very young at 28 in 1989 (when my father started feeling sick) to 2000. I have always been very hands on like a shadow hanging in the back of many decisions and many ideas. It doesn't really change my life if I am at the front or the back. I am always very hands on.
NF: What are some of the key things your father taught you about work that you will never forget?
LP: This way of working around color... this vision of how you match colors, how you visualize it and how you give it its personality. It's a very Pucci alphabet and Pucci language. He loved speaking to people and I love listening to people. The other thing was his philosophy about your passion for your job and he was very good and making sure you did your job well and that you enjoy it.
NF: Why do you think your father's designs - even the most dated ones - are still popular today?
LP: It's very much going back to the artistic dimension for me. I think you can say a lot about my father's prints - sometimes it can be too much or been copied a lot or the colors are too much, but you recognize the style of the Pucci print. You can put it away for one year or five years, and you pull it out, like some pieces of clothing, it's fashion but it's also classic, there are very few brands that can pull that off.