There was not really a moment, but a gradual realisation. I studied medicine, which I soon realised that was not for me, and while doing so dabbled in photography. I went for a meeting with a woman at Milan's premium department store, La Rinascente, with some pictures I'd taken of my sister, to try to sell the images. Shebought some and offered me a job as a window dresser. I dropped my studies to take it up. I suppose that was when I first started to think about fashion design.
2. Why did you make a commitment to RED/The Global Fund in particular?
I've been a long-time admirer of both Bono and Bobby Shriver's passion and energy when it comes to campaigning on social issues. So when they first described thepotent yet simple idea behind RED, I was immediately won over. It is unquestionably a pioneering initiative. Unifying global brands for goodwill is both powerful and humbling, and requires the conviction of individuals like Bono and Bobby to make it happen.
3. Do you work alone?
No, I work with my best friend Sergio Watson, he´s my partner since college and he helps me so much, I don´t knowwhat I would do without him, I love him!
4. Ok, let´s meet him!
5. Hi Sergio Watson, how did you meet Stella?
Hi Ani, Well, we met at college and we soon became best friends, she is so humble, very sincere and she knows about fashion, I´ve learned so much from her.
6. So, what about you collection?
We´ve recently made our summer collection 2010, Stella has brought you some dressesfor everyone to see them.
(They show the dresses)
7. I refuse to work with leather or fur. What are your views on this?
I admire your commitment to this issue. As you're aware, I do use a limited amount of fur in my collections, but I try to do so conscientiously.
8. By producing collections every six months, are we encouraging people to consume more than they need to?
It's of course aproblem; we need to renew our collections to evolve. I suppose that because my aesthetic tends towards the understated, and because I do not follow faddish trends, my clothes and accessories can be worn for several seasons.
9. In Britain, there appears to be a culture that embraces cheap clothes. Surely the more expensive the fashion, the more likely it is to come from ethical sources?
It wouldbe a logical assumption that a higher price would equal a more ethical source - clothes made from more natural materials, by workers paid properly, in a decent environment. However, the culture embracing cheaper clothing that is evident in the UK is in my view more to do with the growth of "fast fashion", which has captured the attention of consumers in much the same way as "fast food" did.10. You've been working for many years. How do your inspirations differ now from when you started?
My sources of inspiration are the same - travel, film, books, music and art; essentially the culture that surrounds me. However, as I have grown older, I've realised the extent to which I find people fascinating and inspiring. I love to watch people (those I know, and those I don't), and studymannerisms, expressions, the way they walk and hold themselves. People's characters are central to how I imagine dressing them. I believe that clothing should always celebrate the personality of the wearer, and not overwhelm it.
11. If you had to cite a single inspiration, what would it be? My father said his was hearing Elvis "for the first time".
Probably seeing films as a kid. It was like beingtransported from the harsh reality of life in post-war Italy to this magical place. The stars were so glamorous and larger than life that I wanted somehow to share in that. I think, at some level, when fashion opened up to me I saw how this might be possible and how I could create a glamorous, elegant world of my own.
12. You are rare in that you entirely control your own company. How...