Strong and Dark, with Delicate Femininity - Johanna DiNardo
Gives us a snapshot of the label as of right now
My Première collection, an eveningwear collection inspired by the romantic striations and alluring reflections of the moonlit Seine, aimed to portray a present-day interpretation of Evelyn Trip’s character from infamous Smoke & Veil, Vogue cover. The collection was shown at Vancouver Fashion Week and garnered the attention of British Vogue, where it was published on vogue.co.uk. This publicity along with a Black Sheep listing on Not Just a Label increased interest from celebrity stylists. I live in New York City where I am currently working on my second collection, Deuxième, the predecessor to my first luxury womenswear collection, eveningwear, with a more RTW approach.
I am also currently undergoing my first production run, as I launch with the first product under the Johanna DiNardo label: the Little Black Coat.
What's your earliest fashion memory?
My earliest fashion memory, and also the same instance I decided “I was going to be a fashion designer,” was at age 11. I was at my Aunt’s apartment in Boston for 2 weeks during the summer, and to occupy myself I had a full set of markers and a huge stack of papers. I believe my mother had shown me “Project Runway” for the first time the week prior, and I was captivated.
I drew and designed 100+ garments in one sitting, complete with colorways, descriptions, and details. I can remember the exact feeling of excitement it brought me, as this outlet for creativity was discovered.
My mother enrolled me in sewing classes that year, and I continued learning and persuing ever since.
One day I am going to find those drawings, and cannot wait to have a fond laugh over the evolution!
Your collection 'The Better Part of me is a woman' really caught my eye - what's the inspiration behind it and what's the meaning behind the name?
“The Better Part of Me is a Woman” was a singular project in exploration of using crin as an exterior surface element. I am extremely fascinated by the properties of this material, and find it so beautiful when explored in its outward manipulation rather than hidden, as in its most common use within the interior hem of gowns to provide structure and volume. In this project, I also was interested in exploring the crin as a means to enhance the female form with the conceptual goal/vision to portray the rawness and delicacy of femininity.
Fraying, painting, stitching, flipping, twisting, and distorting the material in various interesting ways showcased the female form (and femininity) in a powerfully whispered way.
Your Capucine Cape was recently worn by Cardi B - how did she come to wear this piece?
Cardi B wore the Capucine Cape from my Première Collection in FADER Magazine Summer Music Issue Cover Shoot. I was contacted by her stylist, who at that moment, had just begun working with her. This was before she really took off, her only known hit at the time was Bodak Yellow. He told me that she is predicted to be the next Nicki Minaj, and he had plans to revamp her style with her record label, and give her a fresh look.
Kollin Carter, her stylist, styled the Cape in a unique way with a bustier atop, cinching the waist. He called me after to tell me she loved the cape so much and that it was a success on the shoot. The idea was soon proposed to replicate the cape in a solid color for her to wear to the upcoming BET Awards, but the time and budget was too tight.
I would love to dress Cardi in Johanna DiNardo again, and I have strong aspirations to dress other female celebrities and style icons.
If you could describe your aesthetic as a type of music, what would it be?
My design aesthetic as a music genre would be the mixture of classical and electric. As my aesthetic evolves, there is always an underlying sense of timelessness and mysteriousness in my visions and results. Electric violinist, Lindsey Sterling, to me portrays my brand’s aesthetic. Her musicality encapsulates what my garments encapsulate: a strong and dark mood, with an underlying delicate femininity.