28.10 EF Magazine
Exclusive interview for the france magazine

L’OFFICIEL (France) – November 2016

Italian heritage
A designer with an hedonistic soul, Elisabetta Franchi is an active environmentalist. A plunge into her universe, between Bologna and Cortina.

If she is now a fixture of Milan Fashion Week – having had a fashion show for the last five seasons – Elisabetta Franchi lives and creates in Bologna, in the Emilia Romagna region. “I was born and grew up here. It’s a country full of elegant women with strong personalities.” As a child in the 70’s, she spends her time drawing and sewing clothes for her dolls. On her bedroom walls, she hangs pictures of Jackie Kennedy, her muse: “I love women who are proud and confident and show who they truly are.” Once she graduates from high school, Elisabetta Franchi attends the Aldrovandi Rubbiani Institute of Bologna, and she works on making her childhood dream come true: “Fashion is part of my DNA.” Meanwhile, she opens a small atelier with few collaborators in Bologna’s area. With time, this enterprise turns into an empire and the designer treats herself to headquarters worthy of her success: “I had my offices built near Bologna. It’s a little like an impenetrable fortress.” (Picture 5)

Trip to Veneto region

So, is Elisabetta Franchi unstoppable? Outside of her studio, the 47-year-old Italian designer lets her mask fall and enjoys a normal life with her husband and two kids, Ginevra and Leone, and their six dogs. Their home, ideally located in Bologna’s countryside, is faithful to Elisabetta’s style: “I love modern interior design which mixes minimalist architecture and warm decor. My home is a safe haven which brings me a lot of energy and serenity.” (Pictures 1 and 2) Not usually a collector, Mrs Franchi confesses one and only passion: reproductions of Helmut Newton’s photography, which she hangs on her vacation house’s walls. In Cortina (pictures 3 and 4), the ambiance is very different: “I’ve personally designed my second house, la Cristallina. The lines are true to the local style and spirit but adjusted according to my taste.” Former Olympic city located in the heart of Veneto, Cortina is one of the designer’s favorite destinations when she is not working on one of the four collections a year her brand launches: “During Summer, I love to sail to Greece and then take a break in the “Dolomites”. When Winter comes, I go skiing on the Alta Badia Mountains.”

Fashion and altruism

In Fashion as in life, Elisabetta Franchi is brave. To Proust’s questionnaire, she defines herself as bold, mentioning her fight for the environment: “Through Fashion and my collections, I try to send a message in favor of defenseless animals and the environment preservation.” To this day, Elisabetta Franchi helps several local and national organizations, such as Zampe Che danno Una Mano, pioneer in the defense of animals in Italy. “Fashion’s resources will never run out. It is not the case with the environment… But I am hopeful that people will learn to respect and protect the planet.”