PHP is a bland of artisanal and rock vibes. The Italian upcoming brand is really distant from hype-driven fashion. They don’t leave anything to chance when they craft their amazing leather jackets: every single detail reveals a strong identity and- like Shoji screen- allows hundreds of influences to be half-seen. The super-talented Yossi Cohen (Ballantynes, Borbonese, Desa International, etc.) is in charge of art direction, helped by the fashion veteran Massimo Degli Effetti (owner of Degli Effetti Boutique in Rome), as co-designer and counsellor. Together they managed to give birth to a luxury-crafted and Punk Rock-inspired vision that will make people talk for sure in the next seasons. We had the pleasure to meet Massimo in his beautiful location in Rome, near Pantheon. There we had the occasion to learn more about the brand.
How the idea of PHP came out?
It was an idea of Azzurra e Giampaolo Morelli, owners of Pellemoda, that is leader in luxury leather goods industry (Valentino, Dolce&Gabbana, Burberry etc.). They decided to come out with a brand of their own. They joined forces with Andrea Pucci (CEO) and Yossi Cohen (Art Director) in order to create a very strong brand with a very strong product. Today those are the keys to stay have a good impact on the market.
What was the main concept of the brand?
The basic concept was a dyed and washed leather jacket. When you have one of the best leather manufacturer in the world by your side, you can keep it simple and still have a great result. Once we had the perfect base, we started working on it and developing the creative side of the brand.
What kind of identity you wanted to give the brand?
As I told you, once we had the basic idea, we had to develop the brand’s personality.
We wanted to push really hard on the aesthetic impact.
We started from rock and punk influences. We studied a lot on archival pieces and archival photos, in order to have a firm idea of how the jackets had to look like. Then we have reworked fits and details to make them look more contemporary and unique. For the details we have gone deep into the world of bikers and tried to take the best from the imagery. Same for the graphics we started looking at the world of bikers and ended up looking at the American aviators of the late 40’s. We were fascinated by the back prints of the aviators leather jackets with pin-up prints on the back and by the airbrush paintings on fighter planes.
Then everything was contaminated with our study of the streets of Tokyo in the 90’s and its neon light signs. Is always like this when you go deep into reference research, you know where you start, but never know where you will end up. That’s the secret to escape the risk of being superficial.
Who make the hand -painted decorations on the back of the jackets?
Decorations are made by the talented students of “Art and Graphics Academy” in Florence. The hand made detail make the jackets even more unique, because the will never be two that are the exact same.
How did you (Massimo) got involved in the project
Yossi proposed me to join. He asked me to support him and the brand as a counsellor and promoter.
This union will be hopefully capable of bringing that creative and commercial development, that can make the brand great.
How can your experience as an historic retailer help the launch of a brand?
To be “on the other side” gives you a different and precious perspective.
My duty is not just to be a commercial counsellor. What I try to do is to link creativity to people needs.
From the first moment I have been into the creative process I tried to translate those specific needs into a product.
We cant tell that being a boutique owner gives you some kind of peculiar sensitivity.
In some way you get to know what is good and what is not. You end up being able to develop creativity and commercial potential all in a row and that’s the best way to give the correct direction to the brand.
So, what should we expect, to see more and more renowned retailers helping brands making their choices?
To have someone who is close to what the market demands is something precious nowadays for brands. Today to be ahead of the market you can not make mistakes and you need to be very down to heart. That’s why everyday more boutique owners are working as counsellors or even enter into partnership with brands. Therefore the most important thing to be successful today is the balance between the different parts of the business: the designer, that creates the style, the retail counsellor that provides the experience and the factory that makes the product.
What kind of evolution should we expect from PHP?
In the next season we will come out with new fabrics, not just new types of leather. Of course vintage inserts and graphics are still the core of the brand, but I don’t want to say too much.