edited out of an article about Rome for Berlin’s JPeople magazine…
something to remember the crazy/sweet 2+ years of the ‘LEOPARDESSA boutique’ by…’what happened before the brand…’
(LEOPARDESSA boutique opened in Rome’s rione Monti on Via Panisperna on May 28th 2010 and closed on October 1st 2012)…
written by Tess Amodeo Vickery:
‘As I’m frantically getting things in order for the music video I’m shooting next week for my upcoming album, The Rough Soul, my first stop is to seek advice on my look from glam girl and good friend, Jessica Harris. A rising design star and fellow ex-pat, Jessica and I met during our first Alta Roma/Alta Moda fashion week in 2010. Typical of her hybrid aesthetic and unorthodox brand-promotion, the result of constant globe-trotting between Paris, Berlin and Rome with artist-boyfriend Fabio Campagna, Jessica’s collection did not premiere on the runway, but rather at a pop-up studio in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto. A leggy model was posing alla Marilyn in the doorway with a fan blowing a long, pleated, silk crepe shroud that would have made Courtney Love swoon if she ever went through a Cher-phase. It was love at first click of Jessica’s analogue Canon EOS she was using to document the event alongside fashion photographer, Susi Belianska.
“Have you seen the movie “Juliet of the Spirits”?” Jessica asks me as she swings from the oversized velvet swing hanging in Leopardessa, her showroom in Rome’s avant-garde fashion district, Monti. “It’s my favorite Fellini film,” she continues as her mischievous eyes glance towards a static TV from the 1960’s buzzing atop a pile of old fashion magazines. In fact, all the furniture in the boutique is supported by stacks of vintage Vogues. “This,” she kicks a spindly leg out to present her shop, “Came from that. That, and Dada.”
Each month, she and her partner, playwright Mariaelena Masetti Zannini, host installations, vernissages and travelling pop-up stores. Leopardessa opened in 2010 and grew into a cult happening in Rome, thanks to the eclectic combination of surrealist Mariaelena’s theatrical fabric selection and Jessica’s art direction, inspired by drama, folly, love and dreams. I see a pair of two-tiered flares with old English lutes printed on a bordeaux background that I have to own. She tells me I’ll have to wait until her ninth collection for her eponymous label comes out this fall.
Jessica is the perfect choice to get the wheels turning about the image I want to project as Ama Deo, my stage alias. As a jazz singer, I’ve been on the scene in Rome for years, fronting Tess & the Yellow Cabbies and Bixilander Swing Orchestra, but as a singer/songwriter putting my original music out there, I’m a freshman.
Jessica is a seasoned veteran, who is currently collaborating with burgeoning indie talent Actually, an acid rock-meets-bubblegum pop explosion of i-Pod and voice. I saw Actually perform one of Fanfulla 101’s final shows before closing its doors and a chapter of Roman underground history this past summer. Thrusting against a large styrofoam “A” in a jeweled diadem and six-inch platforms while singing in her ethereal seductress style, I, along with the other 80-odd groundhogs wedged between the bar, foosball table and cave-like walls, was mesmerized.’
(pic by Lars Moereels. Backstage of look book shoot for LEOPARDESSA’s first collection at Jpeople magazine’s office, Berlin 2012. Model: Leona Pipapo)
(pic: Cinotti Photography)