The house works exclusively with a further 60 "labs" across Italy, but it’s here in Grassina, under Maiani’s watchful eye, that every catwalk sample is created from scratch. A sketch for one of Ermanno Scervino's typically feminine gowns, alongside the fabric used in its makingCredit:Matteo Imbriani Paper and fabric toiles are cut and pinned to mannequins, before the final material is selected from shelves of crêpe de chine, organza, georgette, chiffon or cashmere in a rainbow of candy-coloured hues. Crates are piled high with every kind of lace, scraps of which become trims for negligee-style slip dresses. A blouse can consist of nine varieties, stitched together over a week, often by a mother-daughter duo, who work swiftly and silently with synchronised precision. It’s an haute-couture approach to production that is unique in the world of ready-to-wear, and accounts for the brand’s popularity with an exacting, international clientele, including both Middle Eastern royalty and A-listers such as Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria and Olivia Palermo. The house’s designer is a constant presence throughout the process. "Ermanno is close to me every step of the way," says Maiani. "We’ve been working together for so many years that, with just one look, we understand what we want from each other. It’s a beautiful thing." Alterations being made in the Ermanno Scervino atelierCredit:Matteo Imbriani The feeling is mutual. "Gabriella and I are in love with perfection and that’s what has contributed to our success," says Mr Ermanno. "Turning my ideas into materials, colours and shapes is the most complex part of the work. Some might think I am the mind and she is the arm, but it’s not so – you cannot simply draw a sketch, then make a dress.
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