Vincent Licari: Hometown Couture
By Gina-Marie Cincinnati Photography Alessandro Frezza, Roy Cox
Vincent Licari is a fashion designer based out of Fallston, MD. To anyone on the fashion scene, that’s not exactly the place to earn a living as a designer. But for Vincent, it’s ‘home’.
Coming out of high school, Vincent initially wanted to be a fashion photographer… but after showing his portfolio around, he received suggestions from local agencies to start working with professional models, clothing and makeup artists. Because of this, Vincent turned to making his own clothing, to be modeled by his friends. A few people saw his photos (of his own clothing designs) and wanted to place orders for custom dresses, but it wasn’t until he visited his family and friends in Italy that he really committed to the transition. It was then that he saw a televised event in Rome called Donna sotto le stelle, in which designers showcased mini collection on models walking down the Spanish Steps. Everything fell into place.
Vincent hasn’t had any ‘formal’ training in today’s sense of the word, but he has learned from master tailors in Italy and the US, and has done some freelance studies in NYC at Parsons. He says, ‘I still have much to learn and am always pushing myself to create or try something new. It’s very exciting to research the interior construction of a new design, experimenting with different techniques until you get the achieved effect’.
Describing his process, Vincent says, ‘I think fashion should be fun and artistic! I almost feel a dress should be sculpted like art. I prefer to create most concepts three dimensionally on a form rather then sketching. It’s more visual. I then select fabrics to support the concept. Then, I’ll research its underpinnings, underlining and construction.
Afterwards, I’ll sketch or paint variations of the concept and select different colors or fabrics. When I create my first creations I tend to go over the top to practice working on a repetitive technique. Each piece I later redesign and interpret after I meet with the customer. Jackets, skirts blouses and gowns are all parts of my evening collections’.
Vincent says that his inspiration never comes from just one place… instead, it can come from anything: pictures, a technique or a unique fabric. Of his recent work, he told me that a previous collection of his was inspired by the lights, shadows and silhouette of an antique chandelier.
Vincent recently took part in a fashion benefit, ‘Beauty is Skin-Deep’, a fund-raiser for the Skin Cancer Foundation. Special guests of the event included Lucy Sykes Rellie, former fashion director of Marie Claire Magazine and Carson Kressley, star of the popular television show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”.
When asked about whether he plans to eventually be Couture certified, he said, ‘It’s what I’m moving towards. Many creations often require invisible details and hours of stitching on the inside of the garment to help it take shape. These techniques are not found in mass production’.
Along with the Couture certification, Vincent intends to continue growing his brand in a traditional way, including expanding to a number of specialty boutiques. He intends to stay in Maryland, because ‘My work and clients require me to travel to big cities anyway…’