Benedetta Antonelli and Jonathan Joory are not your average couple. Following a jaunt to Detroit and Chicago, the pair sparked a connection between traditional American workwear and the femininity of Italian style, and so Confezioni Crosby was born. With a DNA of washed-out canvas dresses and bright yellow Fisherman’s jackets, the twosome have transformed utilitarian factory-wear into acceptable Downtown Manhattan apparel. Wonderland caught up with Benedetta and discovered that factory girls don’t just belong in Underworld on Coronation Street…
Where did the name Confezioni Crosby originate?
Confezioni Crosby merges my Italian origins with the American history of the brand. Confezioni is an old-fashioned Italian word that means tailor-made, and Crosby is the name of the street in NYC where we live and work.
Can you define any aspects that are distinctively Italian or American in the collection?
It’s difficult to separate the two as they are so simultaneously connected in the garments. Styling and colour-palette are predominantly Italian, while the silhouettes and mood of the collection are more American. The Italian origin of the design emphasises attention to detail and adds a certain flair to the brand. In contrast, the American manufacturing heritage conveys a know-how of solid construction and durability synonymous with work wear.
Confezioni Crosby is the brainchild of you and your partner Jonathan Joory, how do you strike a work/life balance?
Confezioni Crosby has grown so naturally that it’s now part of our everyday life; that’s probably why we don’t feel like it’s work. Although, sometimes you do find yourself talking about the collection when you shouldn’t, that’s when we have to look at each other and say “this isn’t the time” [laughs].
We’ve spotted an essence of WWII style – are we on the right track?
The WWII reference was fairly intended. If you want to find inspiration for women’s work wear, then there’s no better period of history to look at than the 1940s, when a great deal of women went to work in factories; it’s a natural consequence to find reference in that aesthetic.
Did you enjoy working with Fanny and Bill Gentle on your SS12 Look Book?
Bill and Fanny are a very talented and creative couple. We started working with them when creating the first collection and have remained friends every since. This look book was shot in Montauk, a place that we all love. Hopefully we’ll collaborate again in the future.
Would you ever consider a menswear line?
Yes, I would absolutely love to design a Confezioni Crosby line for men. We started designing for women as we enjoyed the challenge of transforming something apparently masculine into something very, very feminine. The challenge with menswear would be transforming original workwear into something accessible for everyday life.
How do you strike a balance between functionality and fashion?
When designing, I start with original workwear pieces and try to understand their essence. I take what I think is fundamental about the garment and translate it into a fashionable shape, whilst keeping the presence of the original idea.
One final question – are uniforms really that sexy?
I’m glad that you’ve asked this question. I honestly don’t focus on the sexual appeal of uniforms, but it’s surely a strong component that emerges spontaneously. Uniforms are appealing because they’re simple, smart and give the wearer an immediate distinction.
Words: Charmaine Jade Ayden