From Adelaide to Milan (and back)

For some 30 years, Pierina D’Angelica of Atelier Milano has been hand-crafting couture evening wear and bridal gowns from her studio in Adelaide.

But designing couture gowns was not always in her plan.

“I was actually meant to be a costume designer,” she tells us.

“When I studied in Melbourne, there was a job at the ABC as a costume designer that I wanted, but because I was still studying, I didn’t get it.

“I wanted to go into film costumes, but I ended up in bridalwear.

“Luckily, I fell in love with bridalwear and thirty years down the track, I love it even more.”

Safe to say fate made the right choice for Pierina.

She now runs her business with a couture workshop in Adelaide as well as another in Milan, Italy.

From her Milanese workshop, Pierina has a team who takes her bookings and organises the work, then she makes the journey to meet the client and sketch the designs.

“I go over for probably two weeks at a time each time, I meet them and organise everything,” she says.

Her designs are then brought back to South Australia where they are painstakingly pieced together to perfection.

“Everything is made in Adelaide though,” she says.

“That’s what I offer – it’s all South Australian made because that’s important to me.”

Her Atelier Milano gowns are made of the finest quality fabrics – sourced in Milan, of course – and Pierina hand beads, embroiders, layers and finishes every piece.

“You have to be a very skilled technician,” she says.

“And when I create a look, I to it from head-to-toe – the dress, the shoes, the bag, the jewellery and headpiece… I do it all.”

We saw that first hand when we were shown a sneak peek of the upcoming collection.

Metal headpieces inspired by Romeo & Juliet, clutches, belts and jewels have all been created and paired with each look Pierina’s created for the Adelaide Fashion Festival presented by Mercedes-Benz Adelaide & Unley runway.

“I love to experiment and do craft, and just putting all those pieces together, it brings me such joy,” she says.

“Fashion is art and art is fashion, so you have to be a bit of a master to craft these things together in such a way that the client feels good in them.

“Seeing my clients love their whole look… it’s the best!”

See Pierina’s designs at Couture Culture presented by Burnside Village.