Nicoletta Grazioli – Design Manager• 3 minAlexandra Engdahl
Nicoletta Grazioli, Eton’s Design Manager, leads our design studio in Como, Italy, which also is her home town. As the daughter of parents who also worked in textile production, her love of fashion runs in the family. She brings an obsessive curiosity for history, colors and details to the Eton world, all while keeping her team in good spirit.
What is your relationship with menswear and shirts?
I love working with menswear and giving a female touch to a man’s wardrobe. I also really love making accessories because they’re the cherry on the top of the cake.
What does a design manager do? What is a typical workflow?
Before every collection I start a conversation with our creative director Sebastian Dollinger when he gives me a bit of his needs, ideas and visual! Then, I start my work with creating the moodboard and the color palette of the season.
I usually love to do this part of work starting with brainstorming with my super duper team where we share what is going on in the market, working on trend books, and we start with my favorite part of the process – the research! This is a crucial part for creating new designs, especially when it comes to the print designs, finding and creating new qualities and make a cool accessories collection. I love to get lost in old fashion archives, finding the right details to add to my creations. I love spending days with my team looking at old books, museums or just walking around cities and getting lost in vintage shops. I love how Eton gives me total creative freedom here.
Next, I take all the material I’ve gathered and begin to create. This is also when I brief our print designer Anna Canavesi so she can start drawing and painting her wonderfully artistic illustrations, our product designer Ufuk Akkaya so he can start to design and think about new products for Eton. At the end start I also start working with our accessories product developer Max Isaksson to start the accessories collection! I allow them the freedom to choose whichever style or new ideas they think will be the best to fit in a new Eton collection so then I can decide how to melt and match together into my final vision. Then, together with our head of fabric Valerio Leone, we start up the supplier meetings. That is really my expertise. I have textile background and did study as textile engineer and I still love working with textiles, fabrics, finishing etc.
I follow the creation step-by-step, focusing on coloring; this is essential for a beautiful print or a right woven pattern. The colors need to match the theme, but also be fresh and cool for the season. Most of all, they also need to fit into the current fashion.
As design manager, I love keeping track of what everyone is doing and empower them to be the best of their self while they work! Good relationships are the key to creating something great as a team and be happy while you do so! When the entire team from HQ and Como finally meet to finalize the collection, it's a big explosion of creativity and fun! I think this is so important for making a great collection.
How do you work with customer feedback?
We always ask our salesmen for feedback to understand which prints and products were successful. It’s important for us to analyze what the markets like to anticipate the next season.
What defines a really good design?
When you don’t need to ask anyone what they think about it because you can already see that it will work! If I’m not convinced with something, I just keep working on it until it’s great. My goal is always to make the customers think: What?! They did it again?!