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Art of Style

Stay home, stay inspired: 3 designers share their creative outlets

Alighieri‘s Rosh Mahtani

Designer Rosh Mahtani on… the joy of photography

“I always joke that I wanted to become a photographer but never really had the guts because I didn’t train [in it], so I thought that if I started my own jewelry brand I could take photos without really calling myself a photographer,” says Rosh Mahtani, the London-born jeweler behind Alighieri, who shoots all her own campaigns, lookbooks and Instagram content. “For me, a photograph will inspire the making of a piece and then I’ll shoot it in a different context, and it comes full circle. So it’s a really inherent part of the creation process for me.”

While London is in lockdown, Mahtani is using her beloved analogue camera to document these unusual days. “I really want to make a quarantine diary,” she explains. On one hand, she’s rediscovering the beauty of natural light throughout the day – rising around 5am with the first rays of dawn, and taking pictures of the light as it moves across her apartment – and on the other, she’s juggling the practicalities of running an extremely busy brand from her one-bedroom apartment, a juxtaposition that appeals to her analytical nature. “Whenever there’s a patch of light in the apartment, that’s when I pick up my camera, even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes. I just play and it reminds me of how I started the brand, and it feels really joyful and innocent.”

Rosh Mahtani has been inspired by the light as it moves around her apartment during the day, taking photographs with her analogue camera and playing with ideas

While her days are hectic, Mahtani feels fortunate to be able to continue working during these uncertain times and is giving back to those in less fortunate circumstances by donating 20 percent of her website sales to the Trussell Trust, which supports food banks across the UK. It’s unsurprising that she’s been busy with a brand that is based on the kind of courage-instilling talismans we could all do with nowadays, and it’s admirable that community is still at the very core of Alighieri.

“Whenever there’s a patch of light in the apartment, I pick up my camera… I just play and it reminds me of how I started the brand, and it feels really joyful and innocent”

Designer Emilia Wickstead on… the joy of old movies

“A good film, like a good book, can momentarily transport you to another world,” says London-based designer Emilia Wickstead, who has been using her time at home to watch the kinds of old movies from the ’30s and ’50s that spark her creativity. “They have a certain romance and a whimsical, carefree vivaciousness to them that makes me feel uplifted. The singing, the dancing, the elegant wardrobes, idyllic interiors and charisma make me want to dress up, entertain and create. In an ideal scenario, I could watch one and have already noted at least a dozen new ideas for an existing or future collection.”

Breakfast at Tiffany‘s and Meet Me in St. Louis are just two of the classic films that have been inspiring Wickstead

Currently, it’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Singin’ in the Rain, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Women, The Kiss (starring Greta Garbo) and Our Dancing Daughters that Wickstead has been unwinding to, while past collections have referenced iconic films including – rather unexpectedly – The Godfather trilogy. “It’s not usually a literal interpretation, but more about a mood, and always with a modern, Emilia Wickstead twist,” she explains. “Film stills always appear on my mood boards. My fall/winter 2020 collection, shown in February, was inspired by Cedric Gibbons, a legendary art and set director who worked on over 1,000 productions from the ’30s to the ’50s, and who brought the concept of Art Deco into American film.”

Wickstead is also busily preparing her spring/summer 2021 collection – “I’ve been trying on samples at home, quite literally pinning and draping on myself” – and is extremely proud of her atelier team, who have been volunteering at home to sew uniforms for the UK’s National Health Service. Bravo, team Emilia Wickstead!

Emilia Wickstead
“A good film, like a good book, can momentarily transport you to another world”
Rosetta Getty

Designer Rosetta Getty on… the joy of flower arranging

Flowers play a pivotal role in Rosetta Getty’s design process. “The late, great Georgia O’Keeffe – who was known for her bold, large-scale paintings of flowers – inspired my spring/summer 2018 collection. And for fall/winter 2020, a tiny floral detail from a print that featured in one of Anna-Sophie Berger’s most recent exhibitions was reimagined as a repetitive pattern,” says the LA-based designer.

Even when designing her home in Hollywood, Getty felt compelled to bring a touch of the wild outdoors inside: “Our dining room, for example, contains a living vine that we’ve allowed to grow all over the walls.” So, it felt instinctive to turn to flower arranging for solace. “It makes me feel as though I’m achieving something creatively – even if it’s on a much smaller scale. The process of working with natural materials and focusing on color, texture and form makes me feel calm, and I’m definitely craving that quality at the moment.”

Flowers and foliage have brought calm and creativity to the designer as she hunkers down at her home in Hollywood

Unorthodox color pairings are a hallmark of Getty’s collections, and as well as appearing in her new-found hobby, she’s incorporated mood-boosting shades into her outfits each day, too. “I’ve been trying to wear colors that make me feel good, such as yellow, red and pale pink. There’s a whole theory behind this type of intentional dressing, and I think it works.”

“The process of working with natural materials and focusing on color, texture and form makes me feel calm, and I’m definitely craving that quality at the moment”