For our “X Questions With” series, we’re speaking with talented individuals from around the world who have inspired us with their creativity and passion. If you have a story to tell or someone you’d like to see profiled, let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter!
Today, we’re chatting with Erika Lamperti, the passionate and highly creative designer and founder behind the Lamperti Milano fashion brand. If you’re not familiar with this line of handcrafted footwear inspired by the Classics (think Plato, not Gucci), be sure to visit them online at www.lampertimilano.com!
1) Please tell us a little about yourself
• Name: Erika
• City: London
• Places Travelled and/or Lived: Milan, Beirut, Jerusalem, Iceland
Books: Homer, Socrates, Plato, Euripides, Virgil, Catullus, Kierkegaard, Baudelaire, Nin, Baricco
Museums and Venues: Museo della Calzatura di Vigevano, Palazzo Reale di Torino, Palazzo Bocconi
Eras of History: 700–400 B.C.
Films: Il Gattopardo, Modigliani
• Education/Training: Bocconi University, Central Saint Martins School
• Occupation: Designer & Founder
• Creative Works: Lamperti Milano Shoe Collection
• Favourite Quote: “Nihil inimicus quam sibi ipse” (Cicero, Letters to Atticus)
2) It’s intriguing that the first link on your website’s header is “Inspiration” – and even more fascinating is the story behind it. What encouraged your interest in “ancient times and mysteries”?
The interest I cultivated in ancient literature and mysteries derives from my innate passion for books coupled with the high school’s classical studies, which allowed me to further my knowledge. The inspiration behind my collection is primary and essential to understand the concept and the styles we are presenting on the market.
3) Are there any myths or stories that especially inspire you?
I’ve always been extremely fascinated by very old popular traditions, manuscripts and myths. Greek and Latin stories, including the Symposium, the Odyssey and Catullus’ poetry are among my favourite readings, as well as the Bible’s Old Testament which encloses endless parables that are still incredibly extraordinarily contemporary.
4) How did you come to blend that passion with footwear design?
Blending absolute abstract theories with physical structures was a courageous challenge I gradually embraced with my brother Federico at the end of 2013, aiming to lend an “educated touch” to the Italian elegant footwear tradition.
5) Why sketch out your designs in a journal?
Most canvases are white, yet still most canvases are different. Sketching in a Paperblanks book is an inspirational experience which adds a value and preciousness to every sketch and idea that comes to my mind and pencil. Also, I’ve never seen something this close to our brand identity. Seems they were invented for us!
6) Why use the small journal format?
The small journal is practical yet romantic, handy yet classy. It allows me to design and sketch literally everywhere – trains, buses, cars, benches, beds, lifts, airplane seats – keeping it discreet.
7) You mentioned that empowering and inspiring women is important to you – how does this fit in with your business and creations?
Designing shoes for a specific woman, who sometimes could even only be an ideal, is a lot more inspiring. I like to address with our colours and stories those empowering female types sporting strong attitudes in their lives or fields. Today I conjure up a blend of Bianca Jagger, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Cristina Fernandez.
8) Do you have any advice you’d like to share with aspiring artists and designers?
Keep on knowing your evolving self and be brave enough to frequently step out of your comfort zone – being sure to always be carrying your favourite book with you.