The name “Mariapia Malerba” may not be new to art lovers of the area, as the Italian-born fine artist has been lending her creations—wildly diverse in medium and style—to the corners of Southwest Florida for nearly a decade. But Malerba recently has been searching for fresh ways to express contemporary sensibilities among her work.
She landed on the desire to merge visual art and fashion into one accessible product: a collection of 100 percent silk tunics, in the motif of nature. Handcrafted according to the Italian tradition, the silks manage to weave a strong voice into their elegance. Through their form and content Malerba engages in “a dialogue between strength and fragility, solidity of form against ephemeral delicacy.” The wearer becomes the message, she says: living art.
Malerba and photographer Stefania Pifferi, a fellow Italian now working in Southwest Florida, traveled to Malerba’s hometown in the region of Puglia, Italy, last summer for the project. “It was a wonderful time of laughter and hard work,” Malerba says. Upon their return to Southwest Florida, the pair teamed up again to show us the creations on our own shores. See the results below.
MODEL Crystal Rischer, Protocol Models on the Gulf
HAIR AND MAKEUP ARTIST Barbie Mercedes
PHOTO ASSISTANT Justin Favero
GREAT DANE Winston Pavletich