Interview: SLY PAINTED LEATHER

If a leather trench coat was to be brought up in a word association game at a WILD dinner party, chances are Buffy The Vampire Slayer will be the obvious link. But there’s a new contender in the shape of SLY, a label that’s going ‘beyond the thunderdome’ to play with leather in wonderfully unusual ways.

Lets start with a Cilla Black inspired question. “What’s your name and where do you come from?” 
Haha! Silvio Figoni and I come from south London, Cilla!

Have you got a fashion based background?
No, I trained in Graphic Design and went to Central Saint Martins for my Foundation, but always preferred painting and fashion – and now I’ve finally combined the two!

I was obsessed with Naomi Campbell. I waited for two hours for her to turn up at a book signing for her sordid blockbuster semi-autobiography Black Swan. It was a brief meeting, yet as she signed “To Slyvia” in my book, the world stood still…I didn’t buy her smash hit semi-autobiographical album Babywoman though…

Do you think leather is a material that isn’t explored enough?
Leather is a great material: it’s fluid, soft and warm. Interesting print techniques are used on leather now to create amazing textures, patterns and colours. Take Burberry’s’ studded python biker jackets from a few seasons ago for example. I want to see more leather bras and corsets now and I’ve just painted a sexy 1970’s black leather skirt.

So tell me a little more about what you do to the leather jackets to give them that special SLY difference.
I use acrylic paints to create my SLY PAINTED LEATHER pieces. I often paint free hand, just like I would a canvas but recently (for a particular collection) I have masked areas with tape to create geometric graphic shapes and dynamic lines, and blocked them in with flat bold colour.

Why the name ‘SLY’?
SLY comes from my name, but it’s short and sweet and contains the same letters as YSL

Who are you dressing in mind of?
It originally was just for me, then my mates and now I literally want to put everyone in SLY PAINTED LEATHER. I’m desperate to do an OAP shoot. I’m serious!

Who has worn the jackets so far? Do you one day want Britney to wear one?

Misha B has just worn a couple of jackets on tour and she looked amazing.  Hell to the yeah. I would love Britney in a sexy skin tight SLY PAINTED LEATHER jumpsuit.

What vibe were you trying to get across in your recent lookbook?
My inspiration was the Mad Max movies. Futuristic, apocalyptic, tribal, hence why I called the series of photographs ‘Beyond the Thunderdome’ and shot them in a derelict car park in Shoreditch. Tina Turner (with a Mohican) is my SLY muse.

What do you hope is going to go down in 2013 career wise for SLY and also for Britney’s year to be?

I hope that SLY PAINTED LEATHER continues to evolve and develop. I want to try new techniques to paint the leather, and to not just be considered as a painter of leather jackets but one of all leather fashion, whether that’s skirts, dresses.
But I especially hope that Britney finds her nirvana.

Words: Charles Matthews

Stylist: Heather Falconer