Introducing: Stefania Pia
Published September 7, 2010
PHOTO BY COLIN DODGSON
With her gregarious smile and lilting Italian accent, Stefania Pia’s infectious personality has helped establish her as one of Vogue Italia‘s best loved contributors. She has a knack for charming socialites and celebrities into sharing intimate details of their lives. She admits she’s a born raconteur, a lover of stories—both those she creates herself, and those she curates for others. “I think it’s in my DNA,” she says of her fondness for emotional ephemera. “Even if it’s only an object, I want to preserve its memory and its identity. We can’t survive without memories.”
Pia’s sensitivity to the nuances of a personal narrative serve her well not only as a writer, but as a self-taught painter and vintage enthusiast. She’s created a series of careers as something of an interpretive scrapbooker of human experience. First expanding into art installations—working alongside none other than Maripol and the Schnabels—Pia eventually decided to introduce her creations on a public scale. With her new eponymous jewelry line, her mnemonic fixation has become wearable art, weaving discarded memorabilia from flea markets into unique, handmade “found art” necklaces. Everything from keys to door hinges to human hair holds a level of specific appeal to Pia, who fashions these artifacts into homespun pop art, painting one side in fluorescent hues.“I paint one side out of respect,” Pia says of the process. “This is my way to do something good in the world. I’ve thought about this a lot.” She even finds beauty in decay, opting usually to preserve her chosen object as she finds (or “rediscovers”) it—even in a state of supreme fragility. She gives an example: “Sometimes I have to prime the rust but most of the time I like to leave the object how it is. Painting the object is like a sign—it says, ‘I was here!’ So, now this object I wear on my neck has its history and is at the same time new—and re-painted.” Pia’s creations include both unusual totems, but for the materials she chooses to hold it all together. “I’ll just hang the object on a vintage textile or indigo silk Japanese string—I love tapestry!” she notes.
Tonight, Pia will present her debut jewelry collection at EVA alongside an art installation created specially for the occasion. Titled “Someday I’ll Find You,” it’s a shamanistic indoor odyssey inspired primarily by nature. She hints that the milieu will incorporate “an underground forest with necklaces and ritualistic elements.” For an urban twist, bird houses will be spray painted in what she deems “NYC colors.” Downtown rock act TV Baby have created a soundtrack called “Object Spirit,” an atmospheric mood piece designed to trigger internal memories in the evening’s guests.
Meanwhile, Pia already has her eye on new projects. Having cultivated a well-documented nouveau bohemian aesthetic (she loves wearing vintage Amish clothes), it’s no surprise she has plans to introduce more accessories to her line in the future. “I have a line of turbans and shopping bags made with vintage textiles coming soon,” she hints. “This is my way to open a door. This is my world.” A world that we can vicariously enjoy one lovingly reworked heirloom at a time.
EVA IS LOCATED AT 355 BOWERY, NEW YORK.