Simona Zappi Leonardi is the founder and creative director of OSA Younique, a Made in Italy brand that, in recent years, has become a symbol of female and romantic style. Here’s what she told us about her inspirations, the new collection, and other curiosities!
How did your passion for fashion begin and how OSA Younique was born?
I have an exact temporal perception of when and how my passion for fashion was born: I was 4 or 5 years old and my mother took me to buy a new pair shoes; I chose a pair of varnish red with the round end that reminded me Judy Garland’s red Shoes in “The Wizard of Oz.” They were of a smaller number because mine was no longer available, but I wanted them at all costs and, although they were not suited to the lifestyle of a four-year-old. I remember forcing my mother to make me wear them even to go to school.
OSA Younique has interpreted and given shape to that same passion that has been moving me since I was a child, projecting it into adulthood. It is a project born from the strong desire of expression that has always distinguished me. First to inspire people close to me and then all women.
What idea of style and message do you want to communicate with your brand?
I think that it is always an act of great responsibility when a woman chooses to wear my dresses. Among the many proposals that fashion offers nowadays, it is essential to know how to transmit and emphasize a sensation, a feeling, a form of expression shared by consumers. From this, it came to the idea of not being a brand that sells clothes, but a fashion house that proposes a positive lifestyle that takes shape through the conscious choice of what you wear. Not by chance the pay off that I wrote at the beginning of this project, and that more than any other identifies who we are and what we aim to do, quotes: “Romantic and feminine for a poetic lifestyle.”
“It is a project born from the strong desire of expression that has always distinguished me. First to inspire people close to me and then all women.”
You said that the style of your brand has a “Feminine Allure”: what advice would you give to every woman to enhance her beauty and to “dare”?
One of the advice that I am asked more and more often is the one about how to appear feminine without falling into the exaggeratedly sexy, a very thin limit that also separates the being on point at any time from the being out of place. The answer I always give is enclosed in the term I coined to identify our style, which is the concept of Feminine Allure. With a certain attitude and an elegant tone, the OSA younique clothes must confer to women a nonchalance that enhances their class and femininity. However, the advice that every woman should follow when interpreting her own style is to never show more than what’s necessary. Never be remembered for what a woman discovers of herself but remaining impressed for what she does not make obvious.
How would you describe your personal style instead?
There could not be an OSA style if that style was not even mine. OSA Younique was born from the desire to share who I am, and the positive approach towards life shared through aesthetics: soft colors, shapes and volumes with a vintage touch, impalpable and iridescent fabrics, such as those of the spring-summer 2019 collection, express that joie de vivre with which I face, with the determination that distinguishes most of the women, all the challenges of my daily life.
“The advice that every woman should follow when interpreting her own style is to never show more than what’s necessary. Never be remembered for what a woman discovers of herself but remaining impressed for what she does not make obvious. ”
Is there a woman who inspires you, both in work and in life?
I am a proud supporter of women, always on their side and never against them, and proud to be one of them. I love feeling like a component of this “part of the world”, which I study, analyze and never stop admiring. For me, inspiration is the feminine universe.
The SS19 collection is a riot of colors and Made in Italy: what were you inspired by and what is the iconic look among them all?
The fabrics and colors are the first pieces to compose a collection, those of the current spring-summer have conquered me at first glance. I always like the palette of nude colors and pink blush, they have the ability to give that aura of refinement and freshness to any complexion. The choice to realize the laminated fabrics with these colors was a challenge from the beginning. The idea was to produce fabrics so futuristic to ensure the natural light of the season and to reflect it on the bodies and faces of those who wear them. After a while from the debut, I can ensure that such a risky choice has conquered the heart of our clients: in fact, all the garments made of laminated georgette are currently among the best sellers.
The most iconic look is undoubtedly the lurex water-colored mini dress, with the sculpted shoulder and the knot that forms an elegant drape on the waist. After Chiara Ferragni wore it, at the lurex viscose minidress was attributed our stylistic sign with which we will give continuity in all collections. With the one realized for the SS19 collection I wanted to push even further, especially for the shapes; the stylistic reference to the ’80s creates a silver trend with the next collection FW 19-20 collection of which however I cannot reveal anything yet.
“The idea was to produce fabrics so futuristic to ensure the natural light of the season and to reflect it on the bodies and faces of those who wear them.”
How would you recommend to wear the OSA Younique look?
With complete ease and desire to get involved. I’ve often noticed how many women are in the impasse when they choose a different piece to include in their wardrobe. Sometimes they are not ready to wear something that does not belong to the usual routine, yet with that same desire to renew, I know how easily there is to feel irresistible with that piece with which she would have never dared. I am happy when this happens because an aspect that I personally care about is the fit of clothes. I know what can be considered the “weak” points for a woman and all the clothes we make know it as well so feel free to dare, it will be a good dose of selfcare!
What icon, both of the present and the past, would you like to see with the OSA Younique look?
Music has been a great source of inspiration for me since I was a child: both in terms of personal enrichment through poetry and also as a cultural instrument to interpret fashion. Mina for me represents the idea of a refined, elegant, talented, strong, confident, emancipated woman who cares about stereotypes. She “dared” before all the others. Chapeau!
Your favorite fashion book and the one you have on your nightstand.
The fashion catalog par excellence of the ’90s and ‘00s: the complete collection of the works carried out by Tom Ford (one of my absolute reference Fashion icons) for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent between 1994 and 2004, is a catalog of architecture, fashion and design that every designer should know. The book on my nightstand instead is much more introspective and spiritual is by Tiziano Terzani and is one of my favorite books: “La Fine è il Mio Inizio.” By reading it I drew–among other things–one of the basic teachings as an adult: “When you’re at a crossroads and you find a road that goes up and one that goes down, takes the one that goes up. It’s easier to go downhill, but eventually, you’re in a hole. To rise instead, there is hope.”
Your fashion superpower.
The absolute superpower is the one I want the most, to stop getting to the photo finish for what concerns the deadlines of the fashion calendar. We work almost a year in advance on all collections, respect the exit times, it is really an incredible job.
“I know what can be considered the “weak” points for a woman and all the clothes we make know it as well so feel free to dare, it will be a good dose of selfcare!”
What do you think will be one of the strongest trends for next season?
One of the trends you must be aware of, and that we’ve already seen during the last FW and that we see even more in the street style (which I personally observe a lot, as much as the haute couture), is the “back to the 80s and 90s.” Square straps, acetate fabrics, miniskirts, crop tops and cycling shorts … The fashion style of the 80s-90s will make us fall in love again!
What does fashion mean to you?
It represents the emotional momentum with which I am searching for beauty in a broader sense on a daily basis. I am a Libra: esthete by astral coincidences, a perfectionist by vocation.