Designers to Watch: Francesca Canepa

Only three years out of her post graduate studies from The Fashion Institute of Technology, Francesca Canepa, founder and designer of Port Zienna is redefying the meaning behind structural and minimalistic dressing.

With past work experiences at leading fashion houses like Oscar de la Renta and J Mendel, and current embroidery design gigs at Tom Ford and Carolina Herrera, Canepa is making her own fashion mark with Port Zienna’s Collection No. 1 which launched just in June! “I’ve always known that I wanted to create my own line but was waiting for the correct moment to do so,” Canepa said. Lucky for her, that moment is certainly proving to be right.

Canepa, who is now based in Brooklyn, produces and manufactures in her home country of Peru. A main mission of the brand is to work with the people of Peru, the very place that helped shape Canepa and her thriving career. “Our pieces are manufactured by people I know from many years ago. Our goal is to help small communities by giving them a secure job and good work conditions,” Canepa explained.

Port Zienna is developed upon a four part methodology. Inspiration, draping, sewing and pattern making are the ingredients that go into making wearable contoured clothing. Techniques deriving from haute couture serve as a baseline for Canepa’s creations. “While studying in Paris, I was introduce to the technique of draping and I completely fell in love. I was taught that draping was a step to follow while designing haute-couture and since it is a complicated expertise I wanted to change this concept. When you wear haute couture, you feel empowered and strong, we believe a woman should feel like this every day,” Canepa said.

The brand offers options that are at a wonderful price point while sustaining quality and luxe appeal. “We feel that a woman has to feel and look comfortable in order to look confident,” said Canepa. As for future collections continuous minimalistic designs are to be expected. Canepa shared, “Our inspiration is very clean and transparent, we maintain these values throughout our brand, keeping it simple while creating a high-quality essential garment.”

Port Zienna is undoubtedly a young brand but far from being young in technique and craftsmanship. We are already callings dibs on the 1101 minidress and 0101 jumpsuit, now available for preorder on the site!

About the Author

Michelle Costa currently works as Senior Account Executive at Network USA, representing various luxury RTW and accessory clients. She began her career at Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and Cartier. An original beach bum turned fashion publicist residing on the Upper West Side in NYC. Follow her journey on Instagram @michellemariacosta