In his world there is no question: style counts 100% and fashion 0%!
And between fashion or music…? Check out Nick’s reply
Today we will be chatting with Nicolò Cerioni, the brilliant stylist who established SUGARKANE with Leandro Manuel Emede. Completely crazy about music, he managed to create a career in which the worlds of music and styling coexist. He works with the biggest names on the Italian music scene and is a genuine, direct and extremely passionate person.
Nicolò Cerioni: I first began as part of the team at MTV, which was a very young and stimulating environment and I was lucky enough to work with Susanna Ausoni. We owe her that aesthetic in which fashion and music come together so completely and reciprocally. I think I would have felt a little suffocated if I only worked as a stylist. You can create a whole world with clothes in music. I am fascinated by the moment the outfit comes to life within a performance, when it casts a spell as it comes into the spotlight.
Sound Identity: How was Sugarkane born?
Nicolò Cerioni: Leandro (Leandro Manuel Emede – director and co-founder of Sugarkane) and I decided to establish a structure that mixed video production with image curation. We offer a packet that ranges from the production of music videos to image consultancy and art direction. We have an all-round vision because we believe that fashion and music can no longer be conceived as separate entities. You can’t decide to make a video without a reference aesthetic and relevant styling.
Sound Identity: How is Sugarkane received in the world of music?
Nicolò Cerioni: Our approach hasn’t really caught on with the big record labels but has had great success with the artists. The record labels seem to be too rooted in an excessively traditional heritage, as though they are scared to take risks because they don’t think the end consumer is ready or that you can’t be more daring in Italy. I don’t think that is true. We have to take inspiration from the big international artists who are always challenging themselves by revolutionising the way they promote an album or creating daring looks and videos. I encourage the record labels to have a bit more vision and courage; we have so many great artists and valid ideas in Italy. We could achieve great results, even without colossal American-style budgets.
Sound Identity: What is it like working with artists of a certain calibre and distinct character?
Nicolò Cerioni: I love working with artists with a strong character, although it means you never have the final say over what they wear. It is, quite rightly, a question of the synergy between us. I also work with artists that I really like, who I was into before we worked together, when I would fantasise about what I wanted to see them wearing or doing on stage. And starting from this basis really helps.
Sound Identity: How do you interact with the fans and critics of the artists you work for?
Nicolò Cerioni: I appreciate constructive criticism, which helps us grow. Sadly social media all too often gives a voice to opinions driven by fruitless cruelty. Both Leandro and I have been on the receiving end of “public massacres”, mainly for the project we did with Emma Marrone for Eurovision. But it was one of our best jobs, I still love seeing it now and I wouldn’t change a thing. The Italian public tends to be more critical. Since we work with Laura Pausini, who is also very famous abroad, I often find myself drawing comparisons as the fans are generally more positive. Of course my work still has to protect the artists and the relationship they have with their fans. I love working with artists that encourage their audience to grow, show them new things. But of course that means taking risks. You need to strike the right balance, but always remember that not everybody will like you.
Sound Identity: How important is it for an artist to have their own style and how important is it to keep up with fashion?
Nicolò Cerioni: There is no question, style counts 100% and fashion 0%. What is amazing is when an artist has such strong style that they dictate fashion. Lorenzo has innate style, for example; it is a question of the person’s energy. We rarely go for ‘fashionable’ choices for him, but then everything he wears and the way he wears it becomes a reference point for the music world and beyond. Through his music he has shown that he is not afraid to experiment and it has been interesting to emphasise this sound experimentation through his outfits, with no compromises or half measures. I still find it exciting when I see photos of the costumes from last year’s tour (both #lorenzoneipalasport and #lorenzoneglistadi). There was great poetry in that project; it encapsulated Lorenzo’s vision, the vast experience of Valentino and Costume National, my own things, what I contributed to the project. It is a project that I am very proud of because we truly succeeded in creating a world, an aesthetic.. and that doesn’t happen often.
Sound Identity: Where does your passion for music come from?
Nicolò Cerioni: If I was told I had to give up fashion or music, I wouldn’t think twice about giving up fashion. My relationship with music is everything. It is a passion I have had since I was a child; my father listened to a lot of music. Then of course I grew up in an iconic age, where the TV offered a lot. The variety shows had a great effect on my aesthetic, especially the legend Raffaella Carra, as did music videos. I remember the first time I saw the video for Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” as though it were yesterday. It is the video that most influenced me; it pleased and disturbed me at the same time. That is the sensation that I have always looked for in my work.
Sound Identity: What inspires your work?
Nicolò Cerioni: I like to unsettle, break the status quo; I think that adding a little chaos always leads to something interesting. The characteristic of our videos and styling is precisely that – whether you like them or not – they have an impact, people remember them. That is the path we took when we worked with Emma for Eurovision or when we gave a dark touch to Laura Pausini. Even if it all ended tomorrow, at least we have never been walked all over by anybody; we have carried our vision forward.
Sound Identity: What track gets you psyched up?
Nicolò Cerioni: Get Up! Korn – ft. Skrillex