Juan Carro and Fabio Sassio, the creative minds behind Leitmotiv, met at a design college library in Bologna, two strangers cramming for the same exam who decided to lend each other a hand. During the study session, the pair quickly found they had the similar goal of breaking into the fashion industry and complementary skills to do so. Carro’s classic training as a clothing tailor was the perfect yin to Sasso’s print-loving yang. “We [discussed] the double identity of clothing,” says Sasso. “[Of] transferring the image of a painting to an article of clothing.” They launched Leitmotiv soon thereafter, with Carro giving shape to Sasso’s artistic graphics in the form of T-shirts, button downs and bags.
Leitmotiv is a label grounded in Sasso’s love of Italian classicism and fine art, but paired with the slick, modern fabrics that are interesting for Carro to tailor. Statuesque lions are rendered not in hearty, traditional cotton but in acrylic materials, a slinky, teasing update of Italy’s proud pre-synthetic heritage. Like taking a tour of the Uffizi Gallery in Google Maps, Baroque and Renaissance frames are hazily pixelated on gleaming hyper-color surfaces. It may not be high art, but Leitmotiv’s printouts are probably the closest most people can get to looking like Michelangelo’s David.