Sara Cavazza’s Journey with the heritage Italian brand Genny

AUTHOR sat down with Sara Cavazza Facchini, the creative director of GENNY, an Italian fashion house founded in 1962. The serial entrepreneur took on this role after the brand’s years of hiatus in the fashion scene. Together, we discussed the reason backing that decision, her design process, the purpose behind her work, the challenges faced, and how her past title of being a model played a crucial part in this one. As we look forward to Cavazza’s next decade in this role, one thing we know for sure is that femininity and style will always be vital attributes to her clothes, but for now, the buzz is on her recent Spring/Summer 2022 collection.

A: The GENNY SS 22 collection had a full range of colours and textures. It also felt like the collection was about making essential pieces but wearable for the everyday woman. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this collection?

S: The inspiration for the collection came from a cruise between the islands of Greece, where nature becomes a source of harmony and necessity for living our life with more relaxation. A mix between cities and soul led to creating a feminine and sophisticated collection, but with a sporty, sexy touch and a sensation of refined comfort.

A: We’ve also noticed various prints in the collection. Can you tell us how some of them came about? Specifically, the logo-mania print on some looks.

S: Greek architecture, defined by more round and squared shapes in shades of white, red, and blue, and the motifs with which the streets that cross the villages (pattern of stones) are the collection’s inspiration. The graphic designs in this collection stand for portraying houses, sunsets, and the towns that are seen from the sea. The Genny logo returns to its pure signature essence, almost as if the brand is greeting the islands.

A: You were brought in as a creative director at GENNY, right after they had a hiatus for a couple of years. Being a serial entrepreneur, how do you think the brand has grown globally under your watch?

S: I strongly believe in the brand’s strength and its strong DNA, which was based on femininity, tailoring, and quality. As Creative Director, I wanted to update these codes considering that the Genny woman is one who always loves to be chic with a touch of elegance in all moments of her day. She is always unique in her style, timeless, cosmopolitan, and perfectly fits in her city. She is passionate and, above all, sensitive to the needs of the world. I’m also a firm supporter of organic and sustainable natural fabrics.

A: What have been the challenges?

S: The biggest challenge is knowing how to manage the historical legacy that the brand brings with it. Let’s not forget that Genny did one of the most beautiful fashion shows at the White House in the ’80s.

A: After such a long tenure, looking back, is there anything you wish you had known before you took on this role?

S: Looking back, I have to say that I am proud of how I have managed and led the creative direction of the brand. But, I also strongly believe in the saying it’s “only by living you learn”.

A: What makes GENNY different from all the other RTW brands? And why do you think we need it in our closet?

S: I love a woman’s femininity and the elegance of her movements that always seems to honour her uniqueness. As Creative Director, I intend to continue to make femininity shine as today we sometimes tend to overlook it.

A: What’s one piece of clothing every woman should have in their wardrobe.

S: A white jacket

A: What does design mean to you, and how important is it for you?

S: Design is like a wind that allows me to be constantly changing and searching for myself. It allows me to grow with life since it’s all a vibration.

A: How has being a model affected your work as a designer?

S: Being a model taught me how meaningful the relationship between body and dress is.

A: Take us back to the beginning of your career. When did you know you wanted to be in a decision-making position and did you always want to work in fashion?

S: Many people wanted me to take on an important decision-making role and required responsibility because they saw the Genny DNA in me. Therefore, I accepted the challenge. I have loved fashion since I was a child. My grandparents traded fabrics, and I grew up among seamstresses, pin meters, and thimbles. Growing up, I never thought I could work in other fields because I have always loved the pursuit of beauty. For me, fashion is this.

A: If there’s one thing that’s transparent season after season, it is that you understand a woman’s body, and you know what Italian women, in particular, want to wear. Can you take us through your design process and what is essential for you for each collection?

S: Women love to wear clothes that emphasize the waist and enhance the silhouette of their bodies. So, collection after collection, my creativity has always focused a lot on the almost obsessive modelling of the dress. A simple sheath dress can make a woman sexy or extremely classic, depending on the proportions you work with. For me, this is combining harmony, precision, and femininity. I love to make women feel good.

A: You make clothes for everyday women: busy moms and professional ones who want to look elegant and fashionable at work. How important is it for you to create clothes that are both comfortable and wearable?

S: I think it is imperative because you just described my life. First, I am a mother and then a career woman, so I believe that fashion should make us feel perfect depending on the various situations: comfortable, versatile, and always with a touch of uniqueness.

A: We’re fast approaching a significant anniversary for you at GENNY. What does it mean to you to be the creative director of this brand for almost a decade now?

S: Indeed, a tremendous sense of pride and strength. After the first decade, you have to be ready for the second! I love challenges that stimulate the pulsating engine in me, as a thrive under finding solutions for things that at first may seem impossible.

A: As an entrepreneur and mother yourself, how do you balance your work and personal life? What are the struggles that come with doing so, and most of all, staying creative?

S: Harmony of the whole is the principle by which I organize my time. Given that the children have ownership over everything, I manage my days between working hours and moments, memories I want to share and create with my children. Sometimes, it is not the number of hours that count but the quality of the time used.

A: If there’s one thing you would want GENNY to be remembered for, what would it be?

S: I would like it to be remembered for being a brand that has always loved celebrating elegance and femininity in women.

A: What does the future hold for GENNY, and what can we expect to see in the next couple of years as you’re approaching your 10th anniversary with the brand?

S: Stay tuned…, and you will find out soon!

A: What is the one piece of advice you would give to aspiring designers and entrepreneurs? Specifically, during the economic difficulties, the fashion industry is facing today?

S: Creativity must be supported by great determination, passion, and vision. But, unfortunately, we often set goals too close to ourselves, that are often unattainable when we should, in fact, give ourselves the time needed to make our dreams a reality.