Internationally renowned fashion designer, Nicola Finetti, is this year’s ambassador for Toowoomba region’s iconic Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shears, taking place at the historic Jondaryan Woolshed on September 2 to 4. The event is a celebration of the Australian sheep industry and Jackie Howe, a legendary man who set a record in 1892, after shearing 321 sheep in 7 hours and 40 minutes – a record that has only been outdone with the use of mechanical shears in recent times.
Finetti will be attending the festival for the first time this year and is excited to be the event’s ambassador, especially as he is currently working on next winter’s collection. “I’m busy doing that and trying to do my best to do something that is creative and functional…Doing collections and working with wool, [the festival] was one of the things that I wanted to be involved with”.
Finetti is revered as one of the few designers that continue to design and manufacture everything locally, which is echoed in his sentiments about the Australian sheep industry and his take on wool in fashions. “Wool is a natural fibre and it very easily gives a really good shape. It is really interesting and creative as a raw material, and when it’s mixed with other sources of manmade fibre”.
Having launched his eponymous fashion label in 1995, his brand has evolved and runs in the same circles as Alex Perry and Toni Maticevski, but he has always remained true to his personal artistic expression. Finetti describes his style as a designer as “very feminine with a little bit of edge”. Determined to not portray a single, set image, Finetti said, “I try to experiment or be creative in one way or another, so I am not fixed in one silhouette or one sort of woman”.
The inspiration for his designs, although very varied, reflects how he’s built his brand, with candour. “My inspiration is quite diversified, each collection, or each season, is more or less quite related to what I can see. Or a fabric, a wool, or a mixture or texture, can inspire you sometimes. Sometimes it’s a person or a movie that you look at. I like to look at things and get creative”. As for how he wants women to feel when wearing his designs? It’s quite simple. “To feel confident in one way or another, and be inspired by what they wear”.
With his designs being featured on numerous international runways and many celebrities, it is incredibly hard for Finetti to pick a standout moment. “Actually, I did something for the Powerhouse Museum recently with a team of creatives and other designers, and they put this creation we did [Sourcing the Muse Exhibition] on display.”
Finetti, who studied architecture at university, refers to his studies as “a good beginning to be able to do what I’m doing now”. With every fashion designer starting somewhere, this year’s Jackie Howe Festival Runway to Runway fashion show will pick a winner of the Emerging Designer Search – who will land themselves a 3-day, hands-on mentor program experience with Finetti himself. “When you are really in a studio you can look at the function of the studio, the way in which it is moving, what is working properly…and in that case, you can apply those things in your future”.
As excited as Finetti is to nurture young designers, he is also looking forward to seeing the town and surrounding regions, and getting involved in all the activities the Jackie Howe festival has to offer.
Words by Raashi Agarwal
Image supplied by Lani Pauli