Some Like It Haute

Silvia Tcherassi and Sofia Espinosa Tcherassi, the mother-daughter team behind Silvia Tcherassi, dish on their influences, style advice, and more

Silvia Tcherassi and Sofia Espinosa Tcherassi. Portrait photography by Gabor Jurina
Silvia Tcherassi and Sofia Espinosa Tcherassi. Portrait photography by Gabor Jurina

Silvia, you began your career as an interior designer. What influenced your decision to cross over into fashion?

Silvia: Since I was little, I have always been attracted to all things fashion and aesthetics. But, at the moment of choosing a career, I went for interior design where I was able to grasp an understanding of color, volumes, and textures. I was already working on my first projects when fashion resurfaced in my life. The experimentation was a successful one from the start, and so I decided to focus on it completely. That being said, both my vision and philosophy on fashion and interiors are the same: casual luxury that is never excessive or pretentious. 

Often the worlds of interior design and fashion intersect. How does each influence the other in your collections?

Silvia: I have always thought that the boundaries between these two disciplines are almost imperceptible: The founding principles are the same, as well as that search for balance between form and function that always permeates the creative process. I approach the female form and spaces as a sort of blank canvas—always keeping in mind that both have the power to communicate and reflect the personality of whomever inhabits the space or is wearing a piece. 

Silvia Tcherassi’s home in Coconut Grove. Architectural photography by Mattia Bettinelli
Silvia Tcherassi’s home in Coconut Grove. Architectural photography by Mattia Bettinelli

Your collections are known for their Colombian craftsmanship and modern designs. How does that make them stand out?

Silvia: I have always been guided by a defined vision and the quest for a natural, effortless elegance, which I feel is ultimately the differentiating factor in my collections and one that gives my pieces a timeless quality. Women who are inclined to my designs are after garments that are special and unique, as opposed to just wearing the trends of the season. 

What inspires you when designing a new collection?

Silvia: Inspiration can come from anywhere, but more importantly, one must be able to capture and express it in their own language. Of course, there are recurring themes of inspiration like art and architecture. I have been moved by the pioneering works of women like Charlotte Perriand, Frida Kahlo, Anne Truitt, and Louise Bourgeois—they have all influenced my designs in one way or another. 

Silvia Tcherassi. Photo by Gabor Jurina
Silvia Tcherassi

Sofia, what was the defining moment when you knew you wanted to join forces with your mother?

Sofia: I can’t remember a specific moment; my earliest memory was being present at my mother’s fashion shows or draping fabrics over mannequins as a child. Going to Parsons felt like a natural next step, as did joining the company. I don’t think I have ever contemplated
another work environment. 

Individually, how do you each influence the Silvia Tcherassi brand?

Silvia: My primary function as founder and creative director for the brand is to keep my original vision and DNA going, but to make it evolve and resound with the present to maintain its relevancy. 

Sofia: I like to think I bring a fresh perspective as well as formidable and varied work experience to the table. As much as I respect tradition and admire the company’s legacy, being from a completely different generation is a factor that definitely influences my outlook on fashion as a whole.

Sofia Espinosa Tcherassi. Photography by Gabor Jurina
Sofia Espinosa Tcherassi

What’s your secret to successfully mixing professional and personal lives?

Silvia: For us, there is no limit between one or the other and we thoroughly enjoy what we do—our work and the company is our greatest passion. Since my kids were born and grew up in this world it all feels completely natural to them. 

Sofia: We have a great relationship rooted in respect—she has always been the most important role model in my life. Working alongside my mother is synonymous to constant growth and has provided me with a valuable education. As for the separation of work and personal matters, it really does not exist—both are enmeshed and I think that works rather well for us.

Silvia’s family room. Photo by Mattia Bettinelli
Silvia’s family room

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?

Silvia: My mother has always been a visionary. My father, on the other hand, was very pragmatic—a great combination. My father was governor, professor, and rector of a university. He used to always say that between the possible and the desirable, one must always choose the possible. I believe that this is why I have always thought of myself as someone who dreams big but is also rooted to the ground; a kind of optimistic realist. 

 What’s the most challenging and most fulfilling part about working with family?

Silvia: I am so proud of what we have accomplished as a family through work, discipline, and dedication. Of course, one of our challenges is understanding that the brand and the company is our legacy and therefore decisions aren’t solely taken from a financial, marketing, or commercial standpoint, but there is a strong emotional component informing them as well. 

Sofa designed by Roberto Lazzeroni. Photo by Mattia Bettinelli
Sofa designed by Roberto Lazzeroni.

Sofia, what do you admire most about your mother?

Sofia: Her abundant creativity, discipline, passion, and sense of humor in everything she does. 

Sylvia, what’s the best piece of style advice you’ve passed down to your daughter?

Silvia: I have always been pressing that she finds her own personal style as a woman and a designer. I like that she is continuously evolving because fashion is always changing. 

How does South Florida style differ from South American style?

Silvia: South American women are a bit more demure and reserved, while South Floridian women are more daring and like to flaunt more. I think it’s more of a cultural matter than anything else. 

Custom-made dining room table by Draga & Aurel under an antique Italian chandelier. Photo by Mattia Bettinelli
Custom-made dining room table by Draga & Aurel under an antique Italian chandelier.

Silvia, you’re the founder and creative director of Tcherassi hotels in Cartagena, Colombia. If you could design a hotel concept anywhere in the world where would be your dream destination?

Silvia: The Caribbean or Mediterranean as I am endlessly inspired by the views, unique light, the tonalities of the water, the locals, and the gastronomy of each locale. Surely, it’s because I have a strong connection to both places. However, if an opportunity arose in cities like New York, Milan, Miami, Madrid, or Paris, I wouldn’t think twice about it. I am passionate about them too, and they all have been very meaningful to me. When you have a special relation or familiarity with a certain destination, everything has more substance and significance, which is what happened in Cartagena. 

Not-to-miss restaurant in Miami?

Silvia: Cipriani

Must-have item in your Miami wardrobe?

Silvia: A white blouse

Must-have item in your Cartagena wardrobe?

Silvia: A caftan

Art pieces by Chilean artist Voluspa Jarpa. Photo by Mattia Bettinelli
Art pieces by Chilean artist Voluspa Jarpa.

What excites you most about the fashion industry today?

Silvia: History has demonstrated time and again that dark periods are followed by creative renaissance, which is why I look forward to a revival of the industry once we overcome the pandemic. I am eager to see the outcome of great creative collaborations of industry heavyweights like Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons as they serve as evidence of the power of these kinds of partnerships. I am also excited for more women assuming these leadership roles in fashion, for example Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior—it was about time! This will undoubtedly be heavily influential from a design and marketing point of view. 

What current trend are you working into your wardrobe this season?

Sofia: I am exploring abstract prints.

What trend would you never embrace?

Silvia: Anything that is too short, tight, or see-through. 

The main bedroom features a bed by Flou and linens by Tcherassi Home Collection. Photo by Mattia Bettinell
The main bedroom features a bed by Flou and linens by Tcherassi Home Collection.

How would you like to see the fashion industry evolve in the next five years?

Silvia: I would like to see a streamlined fashion calendar with a greater presence of independent brands with an original vision as well as a major acceptance of creative perspectives. Sustainability is also critical. We have to be incredibly mindful of the industry’s impact and consumer behavior. Beyond the environment, it is a social and ethical issue. 

How has fashion changed from each of your generations?

Silvia: There has been a resurgence of the ’80s and ’90s aesthetic, which, coincidentally, are the decades in which the brand was born and began its expansion—from a design stance, there are a lot of parallels. The industry is what has changed considerably. Tech and social media have had a tremendous impact as has the influence of large fashion conglomerates and fast fashion. All of these factors have reshaped the industry. In addition, inclusion, diversity, and sustainability are top of mind today—which gives me a lot of optimism for the future.

Story Credits: 

Shot on location at Silvia Tcherassi boutique, Coral Gables

Hair and makeup by Tod Philip

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