how two italian sisters made the it bag of 2019
Medea, the brand started by Giulia and Camilla Venturini, have already worked with Nan Goldin on their sleek leather totes.
Photography Sharna Osborne. Stylist Danielle Emerson.
For years we’ve seen their faces in work by artists like Maurizio Cattelan and Jason Nocito and walking in shows for brands like MSGN and Eckhaus Latta — not to mention the feeds of everyone from Dev Hynes to Maryam Nassir Zadeh. Now, Giulia and Camilla Venturini, the twin sisters most commonly known by their Insta handle Fotine Paura and recognized by their signature Sinead O’Connor-vibe buzz cuts, have finally launched their first creative venture together: Medea.
The new It-accessory — seen carried by the likes of Petra Collins, Renell Medrano and Cali Thornhill DeWitt — is elegant in its simplicity; it’s fashioned after a common shopping bag, but made with the most luxurious of Italian leather. They have an on-going plan to feature work by some of their favorite artists with their “Speciale” series and the inaugural collaboration bag is with iconic New York photographer Nan Goldin. With the pairing of these two major forces, one is unlikely to find a more cult fashion purchase.Read on as we discuss their take on New York versus Milan, starting their first venture and one particularly naughty night in a Los Angeles hotel.
Where are you from? What was your childhood like?
We grew up playing in fields from morning till evening in a small town by the Garda Lake in Northern Italy. A lack of electronics and open air definitely shaped our characters. We were always together, and quite shy but adventurous. We were not girly. There were no toys. We preferred to play with magazines, animals and our grandmas clothes.
Where do you live now?
We are not really married to any city. We started traveling as young kids. We lived in New York City and in Paris. Now we are based in Milan because production is here and it is a great base to get anywhere fast.
How would you compare the two cities, New York and Milan?
Milan is cheaper to live in, with a much higher quality of life but New York is definitely a more exciting and inspiring place. Working in Milan allows us access to the most high-quality products. Our community and collaborators are mostly based in NYC. We are "the Italians" in New York and "the Americans" in Italy.
You're both models and artists, in addition to starting Medea?
We used to model. And we don't define ourselves as artists, more so as creatives.
Can you describe your creative practice?
We usually work together and are strongly inspired by both still and moving images — human connections and experiences rather than by objects. We love to collaborate with artists and photographers and that is probably why we started the "Speciale" which is our artist editioned bag. We are not studio rats. When it comes time to gather ideas, we work mostly out of our house, which is a big apartment in Milano. And when it comes to the more physical practice, with the shapes and fabrics, we work directly at the factory, which is outside Verona.
How did the collaboration with Nan Goldin for the “Speciale” bag come about?
When we came up with the artist collaboration idea, we made a list of people we dreamt of working with. She was number one, I believe. We emailed the studio and she was so kind to give us the time to explain the project and she loved the idea of printing photographs on a leather bag and to have that as a vehicle for her images.
These collaborations will come out once a year?
We are not married to schedules or timelines or fashion weeks. Once they are ready, they will be released.
Tell me about the inception of Medea.
We always dreamt to do something together as sisters, but distance and jobs never really made it possible. When we both turned 30 we thought: now or never, and kind of blended both our tastes, life experiences and knowledge, and decided to create our own brand. Medea came about from a provocative idea: to make a very fine leather bag that is shaped like a shopping bag. That became our blank canvas for the project.
How long have you been working on it?
A year, more or less.
Is it everything you dreamed?
Tell me a fun story.
We once low-key trashed a hotel room in Los Angeles thinking that it was ours. But it turned out to be some really fancy singer’s room and we had to be escorted out in secret before his return. We may have broken the bed.