Medicine Woman - Serena Cancellier
"I believe there will be a new Golden Age"
Leather goods designer and artistic director, Serena Cancellier often likes to say that she designs "objects that get a marvelous reaction".
This Paris-based Italian beauty believes that every creation should have an emotional dimension, a spirit, like the Rock bag that she presented at the 35th Festival International de la Mode in Hyères in 2020. Having grown up in a little village in Piedmont as part of an intellectually enlightened family, Serena has always had an insatiable curiosity about the world and a sense of deep connection with others. From her mother, who was blind, she soon learnt a love of the dark. After beginning studies in philosophy and then architecture, Serena enrolled “instinctively and with a desire to make things” in the fashion department at the Milan European Institute of Design. This was followed by years of fruitful collaborations, with Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta, Vionnet, Christian Louboutin, Prada, Balmain. In 2018 she opened her own studio in Paris, enrolling shortly after at the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM), and today designs leather goods collections for an Italian luxury brand, whose name she cannot divulge – forever elegant – as well as for Gianvito Rossi, Isabel Marant and Nick Fouquet in LA. She also develops projects for the VGO gallery in Grasse. Unable to conceive of not sharing, she participates in Première Vision trend consultations and leads workshops in Paris and abroad. It was during the first workshop that she gave in Colombia in 2019 that she met Mercedes Salazar. From their immediate complicity and complementarity was born @casa.remedios and Botanica new collection, unique bijoux pieces in gold made by Colombian craftsmen, each of them preserving a plant. Let's found out more about this beautiful Soul.
Serena, I worked in the past with a lot of designers but I always noted in your work an esoteric philosophy, a deep connection with the material and nature. How can you describe the very essence of your work?
My job is to create products, bags, objects that appeal to the public, the customer (i.e. the maison) and the craftsman who is going to make the single piece. Satisfying everyone is obviously not so simple: it is a process that requires dedication, concentration and countless attempts to understand what needs to improve. When I create for myself and I pursue personal projects, I generally make a choice out of love. For a designer I love and with whom I want to create something, or maybe is a place I love or a technique that fascinates me. When I create for myself and for myself alone, not only the object exists, but it is crucial that the object will communicate a message of universal love, of peace and brotherhood between men and creation, a tribute to nature.
You use a lot of organic elements such as stones, plants etc. How nature inspires you and how you connect with those materials to transmit their soul into your designs?
I can see the new world, the future golden age, as a place where every resource is available to everyone, with no more desire to have what we don't need. Eliminate the superfluous. In the golden age we will walk in fantastic cities surrounded by lush, happy and friendly nature. We will wear flowers, fabrics, and clothes of therapeutic colors. Projects will arise from the minds of men, but will no longer be considered "men". For example, the architect will no longer have the egoic belief of having had an idea of him: rather he will welcome that idea because she was already there, present in the air. The projects will be carried out without too much effort, in a perfect harmonious universal choreography between spirit, mind, matter / nature. Already now I would like to get closer to the idea of the golden age: what is offered to me I take and I try to make it "matter", keeping myself as much as possible behind the scenes.
Can you tell us more about the new project Casa Remedios and Botanica jewelry collection?
I believe that Botanica is the perfect example of our future. Flowers and natural elements are solidified by the magical gold, turning into jewels or tools.
There is almost no transformation of the flower and gold, yet at the same time the transformation is great. It is the dream of every alchemist: to transform matter into gold. Each Botanica jewel keeps the plant inside, preserving all its properties and uniqueness. It is dipped in gold with an ancestral technique that gives it solidity and resistance. In this way we can adorn ourselves with the treasures of mother nature.
What are your medicine women instincts, what do you do to nurture them and be inspired?
Since I was a child I have been treated with homeopathic plants and medicines. I have been a vegetarian since birth. My instinct is my body: I am inclined to use certain products and not others. I am also curious and I love to ask, to discover new plants, remedies, products that I then love to experiment on myself. From the smell, the packaging and the color tell me if there is a positive emotion between me and that product or medicine or not. I'm hardly wrong. I take the bottle of the product in my hand and understand if it is right for me, at that precise moment.
I don't ask myself where this talent of mine comes from; what I believe is we all have that innate ability. It is about learning to listen to yourself.
What is your favorite food? Tell us your journey with a plant based diet.
I have been a vegetarian since I was born, I love all vegetables and I prefer whole grains. I love Depuravita's fresh juices and the whole range of products, I am fond of your chocolate. When people ask me what to replace animal proteins with, I tend to laugh, because I don't replace anything: I just eat what I like best.
I travel frequently and I have to congratulate the Autostrade and our Italian motorway restaurants, because there is an excellent offer of vegetarian, vegan and healthy foods. There is nothing difficult about my diet.