Interview: Lawrence Pizzi Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

by Dominique Salerno

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Written by Dominique Salerno for THE ARTISTS FORUM MAGAZINE
Edited by Amos White V for THE ARTISTS FORUM, INC.
Photos: Luis Enrique


NEW YORK, NY (September 30, 2011) Canadian born designer Lawrence Pizzi (born Lorenzo Pizzi) has been creating well crafted garments since 1990 and has dressed the likes of Patti LaBelle, Lauryn Hill, Pizzicato Five, the Emperor of Japan, and the Prince of Morocco.

He is also a part time professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, in the apparel department (men’s wear and women’s wear) as well as being in its art department.  His knowledge of garment construction has given him the opportunity to start his first Spring/Summer 2011 teaching semester with Flat Pattern and the Menswear Final Coat and Jacket Tailoring class for their final collection.  He was offered a class in the summer Sewing Techniques I (beginner sewing class) where he will be teaching two sections (classes) this fall.  The other two classes are Body Contour (stretch garments) and Knitwear.

The first thing I noticed about Mr. Pizzi, both in his designs and his demeanor, was his warm playfulness. Greeting me at the elevator entrance to his studio, he flipped on the light switches as we walked through the space because, as he explained, when he works alone he likes to be as “green as possible.” As the lights rose, garments of bright colors and varied fabrics came into view. Known for his playful and provocative style, Pizzi is full of surprises, and I was intrigued to learn more about his newest collection for Spring/Summer 2012 shown during the Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week on September 10, 2011.


Dominique Salerno: What wisdom do you want to impart about the art of fashion?
Lawrence Pizzi: Fashion has to be fun- always. You have to enjoy it. How many black jackets can you buy in your lifetime? You should always wake up and be excited about what you’re going to wear! Personally, I love the statement pieces — in fashion, in people, in food, and in life!

DS: What do you think you bring to the arts scene that is uniquely you?
LP: Maybe I’m… whether it’s courageous, naïve or stupid. That’s up for interpretation. I bring a playfulness that could be misinterpreted, but when you meet me, you realize it’s it’s just fun.

DS: Have you always been interested in fashion?
LP: I do remember as a kid always being dressed up. I would always match! I’d have outfits that would go together, like kelly green pants, a green and white jacket, paired with a white shirt. We were always fashion victims!

DS: What is your personal background?
LP: I was born in Canada, when my parents were waiting to get into the U.S. My mother is Italian and my father is Swiss. They moved to the U.S. after I was born, but then my father got hired immediately to work overseas. We moved every six months– a different city or a different country! We spent every summer with my mother’s family in Genoa, Italy. The Riveria. We suffered on the Riviera! We just moved a lot.

DS: When did you start designing?
LP: In high school we moved to Cherry Hill in South (New) Jersey, and while we were there, I couldn’t get the clothes that I wanted, so I started making them. And from there, I was ahead of the times. I was walking the halls as a New Romantic.

DS: What’s your process of creation?
LP: I give myself a map of the feeling and the fabrics that inspire me. Then I start making the garments, when I make the patterns, when I start sewing, things evolve and change. Certain fabrics don’t react the same way, and so it’s organic. Sometimes they tell me what they want to become.

Lawrence Pizzi designs on the runway at Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week
Lawrence Pizzi designs on the runway at Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week

DS: What inspires you?
LP: That changes with the seasons. For this collection, it was the feather trend happening right now. My women’s collection is the fallen angel in every way and sense! The broken wings, the feathers… the naughty little whore comes out! At first the collection starts very cold and non-color, and then we go into brights. The women’s collection is called One Woman. One World.

Lawrence Pizzi designs on the runway at Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week
Lawrence Pizzi designs on the runway at Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week

DS: How is this collection different from your other work?
LP: I don’t think it is that different. The biggest difference is I am putting men in it. The men’s collection is called Modern Living. But, who cares about the men? They are just accessories to women! It’s true!

Lawrence Pizzi designs on the runway at Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week
Lawrence Pizzi designs on the runway at Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week

DS: How so?
LP: Well, for this show, my vision is this powerful woman with her male plaything. These women are strong, they’re assertive, and they’re beyond sexy. And I told my models when they walk: you and the audience are having visual sex. And you control their orgasms. I always say that every show, because it’s true.

DS: Is female sexuality and empowerment always a focus in your work?
LP: Always! It’s always in my focus, because the media always puts women down with, ‘Your breasts are too small.’ ‘Oh my god, your breasts are too big. You’re a whore.’ ‘Your ass is too wide. You’re a fat cow.’ (and so on). So, I say: give it up. You are who you are.

DS: And what do you have in store for the men?
LP: Well, even though I am launching the menswear, the whole collection will only have two pairs of pants. Everything else is a skirt or a skant or a, as I like to call it the no-rise pant.

DS: The “no-rise” pant?
LP: It’s a really really low MC Hammer pant, those genie pants. It’s a skirt sewn shut, but with leg holes!

Lawrence Pizzi designs on the runway at Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week
Lawrence Pizzi designs on the runway at Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week

DS: What advice do you give to emerging fashion designers?
LP: Intern. Learn. No matter how talented you think you are; if you can’t make your vision so that women or men want to or can wear it, and can afford it or can fit a lifestyle. It’s like putting tits on a bull. So useless! Work for somebody, and then go start your own line. Because, where are you going to go buy buttons or fabric? You don’t know that until you work for somebody. For instance, when I meet fabric people, my interns come with me. They keep learning.

DS: What’s the strangest place you’ve showed?
LP: In 2000 for the 4th of July I was invited to represent New York and we flew up to Iceland, and we showed on an ice glacier. They built the runway out of ice and put a carpet on it. They drink lots of vodka there.

DS: Is there a theme to your garments?
LP: There is always a surprise to my designs. It’s couture – it can’t look like anything else.

DS: So what are your goals for the future of your line?
LP: To take over the world! Honestly, I’ll be happy living comfortably and making beautiful clothes.

For more information about Lawrence Pizzi, visit:

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