My challenge began in March 1983! Just like the Phoenix, I also rose from the ashes of a company that I had founded and which I then decided to withdraw myself from, ready to take on new challenges and to start from scratch again. Starting out with just one employee, the Stefano Nicolao’s “Nicolao Atelier” tailor’s shop dealt with its first orders received from the Renaissance dance group, the first collaborations with the Municipality of Venice that commissioned the restoration of some costumes used in the Regata Storica (Historical Regatta).
My “Inspirer” Sergio d’Osmo, the costume designer and director of the Permanent Theatre of Trieste (Teatro Stabile di Trieste ) with whom I had collaborated as the Director of the Costume Department, was now contacting me to create costumes for the new drama productions.
This is how, in a short time, even a tailor’s shop with a limited number of employees succeeded in developing such skilful workmanship that it became a professional landmark in Venice.
At this stage, it became necessary to recruit personnel that needed to be trained to become specific professional figures capable of creating historical costumes.
I was lucky because many young people turned up who were extremely interested due to the specificity of this kind of work that takes them back to the past and puts them in touch with historical research based on the fashion plates and iconographic images required to expand their own professional skills based on modern tailoring and fashion dressmaking techniques.
The number of professional collaborations soon increased to include a wide range of different competences and specific skills.
Thanks to European Economic Community funds, more than 50 Italian and foreign interns have worked in our period costume-making workshop in the past few years and some of them have become part of our staff.
Many come from prestigious universities and choose cinema and theatrical costume-making to add this knowledge to their consolidated manual abilities.
I also took part, as a lecturer, in 5 courses and taught lessons on historic costume cuts at the Accademy of Fine Arts in Venice, transmitting period costume-making techniques with the passion and enthusiasm that are the only driving forces able to attract young people to this profession.
It is important to kindle the passion that urges young people towards these professions.
I am set on challenging myself once again by starting some courses to forge and encourage young people to transmit this knowledge so that it does not go to waste but remains as a reminder of a profession that, in the age of hi-tech machinery and microchips, can never be replaced by automated technology.