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01 Jul

Designer Spotlight: Contessa Volpi

Posted by Bikini Owner

Enrica Volpi, founder of the Aussie-Italian swimwear line Contessa Volpi, sat down to tell us about combing the laidback beach culture of Australia with her high-fashion work in her native Italy. Read on for more.



Why did you choose to attend school in Italy? Did you study design?

I'm from Milan and since I was a child, I've always wanted to be a fashion designer – I grew up in the Milan fashion world. That’s why for my university I choose the academy of fine arts, [focusing on] fashion.


But you manufacture and live in Australia. What is it about Australia that you loved so much?

I came to Australia ten years ago for one year, and I immediately fell in love with the people, the place, the weather and the way of thinking. Three years ago, I decided to come back to this beautiful country to try to live here permanently. I found myself in the Australian beach culture, so I wanted to do what came naturally to me — which is designing swimwear. I felt stronger about it than my previous three-year experience in Italy of having my own company, which produced lingerie and swimwear. So I chose to use the most high-quality material — Italian Lycra — combined with manufacturing in Australia, which is worldwide recognized for the swimwear and the surf-beach culture.


Would you say your designs are for the Australian girl?

Often I have been told that my costumes are for every girl — as well the models I choose, who are always beautiful but real and natural. For sure, I was inspired by the everyday Australian beach girls, as well as my European style.


I also read you take inspiration from the 1920s — how is this era interpreted in your actual designs? 

It was a decade characterized by prosperity and celebration, during which women became increasingly liberated – this is very important for me, as it was when woman started to be free. In many western countries, women first received the vote in the 1920s. I like to think of my pieces as embodying the spirit of "beyond real" through their wholehearted celebration of women who love life and all it has to offer.  I really like the Surrealist period — everything that goes beyond real. 

It’s very important to me to bring a sense of empowerment to women through our swimwear, by channeling the optimism of the 1920s and bringing it to the water-lovers and sun seekers of today. While inspired by the past, all our swimsuit and bikini prints and designs would be fashionable on any beach throughout the world.

The women in that time started to wear dresses that didn't have any construction – no more corsets! They felt free to be whatever they wanted to be and with my swimwear, I hope that women feel free to be whatever they want to be — and in the meantime, that they feel beautiful and confident.




How did Contessa Volpi begin and how did the name come together?

Contessa Volpi is the realization of my passion for fashion and swimwear — and why not in a country where swimwear labels have gathered global recognition? The name "Volpi" is my surname (in Italian, meaning "foxes") and "Contessa," which is the surname of a friend who is very close to me. And who doesn't want to be a countess? My logo, in fact, is a countess on the beach with a little fox on her ear.