She has modelled for Egon von Fürstenberg, delighted Suzy Menkes and was promoted by Giorgio Armani: Stella Jean is seen as the hope of Milan’s fashion scene. The Italian-Haitian designer makes a great impression with her bright colours and unusual patterns. Her aim: to unite different cultures through fashion.
You first started out as a model. What made you change sides? I realized early on that my vocation is actually creativity. That’s why I founded my own fashion label in 2009. It wasn’t easy at first. It was only on the third attempt that I won “Who is on Next?”, the young talent competition by Vogue Italia and AltaRoma. For me, fashion is the most authentic means of communication. It enables me to express myself. And it has managed to dispel the feeling of inadequacy that followed me around during my early years. So my passion for fashion arose from the necessity to find my own language. What do you enjoy most about the fashion industry in Milan? I find the constant dialogue with fashion journalists from prestigious magazines exciting. I like listening to their feedback and their opinions. When you are looking at young talents, who catches your eye? I always try to be up-to-date when it comes to the next generation. Luca Larenza is a young designer whose work I admire. Luca Larenza, Via Manzoni 39
Your collections delight audiences with their strong colours and extravagant patterns. How do you dress yourself? Which boutiques do you regularly shop at? I maintain that I dress like my father. My favourite boutiques are Biffi, Pupi Solari (Via Lorenzo Mascheroni 12) and Imarika (Via Giovanni Morelli 1). Biffi, Corso Genova 6
Your first fashion show took place in the Armani Teatro. What venue do you dream of for the future? The Dominican church Santa Maria Delle Grazie. It’s the church that houses “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci in its refectory. Santa Maria Delle Grazie, Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie
Tell us a secret: which parts of the city are home to the most activity by the creative sector? The Lambrate district and the area around the Piazzale Corvetto are creative clusters. You can find lots of new shops and hip restaurants in the Isola and Navigli neighbourhoods. I also like the small, hidden streets Via Col di Lana and the Via Santa Maria, as well as the metro stations on the route from Piola to Garibaldi, where international groups of artists sing and dance.Let’s talk about culinary delights. Where do you go to reward your stomach after a long day at work? To the Trattoria Arlati. Nowhere else is the pasta so good and the atmosphere so friendly. It’s like coming home. Trattoria Arlati, Via Alberto Nota 47