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Artesian Glam
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Artesian Glam

On a cold and rainy Melbourne morning I was ushered into a glamorous oasis – rich in tulle, organza, beading and French lace.Stepping into the studio there is the softest fragrance of gardenia and curtains suspended from the high ceilings hide the creations beyond. Despite the front windows revealing the gloomy day outside I feel like I’ve just been ushered into a Venetian salon – the furniture is luxurious and gilded, a true reflection of the Italian influences at play here at Cappellazzo Couture.

“I have an Italian background,” says the owner and designed Sonia Cappellazzo. “After studying at the Melbourne College of Textiles [now at RMIT], I studied overseas in Italy – just outside of Venice in Vicenza. I was there for three years and I did a degree there in patternmaking.I was lucky enough to study under a professore who used to go into Benetton, Stefanel and Valentino and work on their patterns. I thought I knew so much when I went there but in his class I was completely ignorant – everything I had learnt was irrelevant. He just taught me on the next level.”

It is with this flare and this wealth of experience that has made her such an iconic name on Burke Road and in greater Melbourne – known for her artisan approach and her detail. With such talent, is it no surprise that Cappellazzo Couture exploded into the world of virality having dressed two high-profile Logies attendees – Scherri-Lee Biggs and Deanne (Dee) Jolly.

“Creating the dresses is a feat in itself. We had to contend with the schedules of Perth-based weather presenter Scherri-Lee and the Melbourne based Dee – in that respect, we thought we’d be able to do Dee’s dress first then focus on Scherri-Lee’s closer to the event. But of course, Dee won The Block and she was in lockdown the week leading up to the Logies… That Saturday before was manic.”

Though a Logies berth is huge for local designers, for Sonia, it was simply about doing what she does best. “We wanted to show off just how amazing Scherri is.”  “And Dee – she’s only five foot two and that excited me. We were just so lucky to be able to showcase on two incredible but different silhouettes. What we do here at Cappellazzo Couture is that we really read the body well.”

Being the designer behind Cappellazzo Couture, Sonia prides herself on old-school artisan talent and being able to read a woman’s body to create pieces that flatter and celebrate the individual. “I, unfortunately, think it’s a dying technical skill being replaced by hoards of young creatives who just want to sketch and become the next big thing without having the skills to really understand the frame”.

This, precisely, is why she was so enthralled by her Logies protégés. “It’s all about reading the body shape. I can do really slick, clean silhouettes but we’re also renowned for our detail and embellishments – the artisan couture techniques – so it was wonderful to put it out there that we can do gowns withoutembellishments, beads or lace and have it look so sexy. And then we can also do fitted and gathered as Dee’s was. There was definitely personal satisfaction in showing off the two looks.”

With ideas spilling out about the value of artisan skills in the modern age it is easy to see that Sonia is captivated and impassioned by her work.Deservedly, she is now riding the wave of hype that comes with creating two show-stopping gowns. “The reaction was immediate. The Sunday night of the Logies the emails started coming in locally, from interstate and from overseas.” Sonia is ever as humble with her newfound spotlight, which is not a surprise considering she opened her boutique to showcase her skills rather than to make it rich.

“Do you know what [this hype] does? It just reassures you. I think all creative people are insecure, personally. We’re all like, ‘Are you sure you think that?’”

Artesian Glam
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