The Gucci collection owned by Mantella belongs in a museum. “I remember every season, era, and show, and every purchase is like a time capsule of where I was in my life.”
The parents of Sylvia Mantella are unsure of how to feel about her collection of Gucci. That’s not to say they aren’t supportive; on the contrary, the vice-president of marketing, sponsorship, and philanthropy at Mantella Corporation acknowledges that they frequently struggle for words when faced with it. She laughs, referring to her distinctive 15-centimeter platforms, printed suits, and flower brooches, all of which are, of course, Gucci. “I’m not shy with my fashion, so sometimes my dad simply shakes his head at what I’m wearing,” she says. And it’s simple to understand why given her modest beginnings.
Mantella’s parents left the Czech Republic separately in 1968, despite the fact that she was born and reared in Toronto. We didn’t have a lot of money for clothes while I was growing up because they had to rebuild their life, she admits. As a result, Mantella would copy magazine looks at little cost in an effort to seem like “any supermodel from the ’90s.”
However, despite her early interest in design, she didn’t start to become a huge fan of Gucci until Alessandro Michele took over as creative director in 2015. Mantella describes the now-famous Fall 2015 presentation, which is frequently credited with revitalising the company and bringing the gender-bending fashion phenomenon into the mainstream, as “no one was doing anything else like it. At the moment, I just wanted to comprehend it because it was such a complete departure from the work of prior creative directors Frida Giannini and Tom Ford. The buying process started after the processing was finished. It also couldn’t have arrived at a better moment because Michele said on November 23, 2022, that he would be departing the Italian design firm, making Mantella’s collection even more precious and sentimental to the superfan.
There are numerous closets in Mantella, and they all have a strong Studio 54 vibe. They’re a visual feast of epic proportions because to the colours, sequins, glitter, sparkle, and shine, and are only one disco ball away from becoming like Saturday Night Fever. But once you get past the overwhelming volume of it all, you’ll see that the atmosphere is one of joy, which is precisely how Mantella wants it. She describes herself as both a collector and a curator of her own little Gucci museum, saying, “I get so much satisfaction from seeing all of my pieces together.” “I remember every season, era, and show, and every purchase is like a time capsule of where I was in my life.”
An “Dionysus” shoulder bag from his first collection was her very first item by Michele. The purse, complete with glittering lightning bolts, sequined lips, and other embroidered patches, immediately became Mantella’s go-to item; she claims to have used it “every day for a year.” Her Gucci suits with a ’70s flair are the items she wears most frequently these days. Why? She says, “They give me a sense of strength. “I sit on a lot of boards with a lot of men, so for me, wearing a good suit increases my confidence level to a 10.” Extra-high heels have a similar impact. “When I’m wearing a platform, I’m over six feet tall, making me taller than most of the other people in the room. I like that it puts me in a position of power.
Mantella attributes Michele and Gucci with helping her style develop, characterising her early looks as “very feminine” and her current ones as “colourful, manly, and whimsical.” However, she doesn’t always base her purchases on her own preferences. Additionally, she makes purchases of particular apparel and trinkets that she believes are significant to the heritage of the company and Michele.
So what are the plans for Mantella’s designed mass? She isn’t really certain. She thinks, “I’ll probably pass a few items down to my kids, and maybe eventually they’ll all be donated to a museum or something.” She will make use of them as much as possible in the meanwhile. As she confesses, “as a collector, you can be reluctant to wear pieces because you’re concerned you’ll harm them.” But a few years ago, I asked myself, “What am I waiting for? I then quit resisting and began removing them. After all, a little head shaking never hurt anyone. Right, Dad?