OTTAVIA FAILLA – The sicilian “Joie de Vivre”

Audrey Hepburn affirmed that elegance is the only beauty that never fades. The same elegance is captured in Octavia Failla. A classy woman with a lively, sincere and timeless personality. Her accessories are a hymn to beauty, craftsmanship, the eternal Sicily. Her creations, born over twenty years ago, have given life to a unique and recognizable style. Today her bags are in great demand and much imitated. Many characters from the cinema and entertainment love them. We met her in the baroque center of Modica, a UNESCO city, where she has a small atelier of great charm that has become a place of worship for those who love beauty.

by Giuseppe Savarino
Ph Marcello Bocchieri

Many describe you as a modern “arbiter elegantiarum” how do you define your style and your creations?
My creations tell the places where I live and they are a tribute to the cultural richness that distinguishes Sicily. The style is joyful and sunny. Games of light and shadow, like our baroque style; colors, optimism and originality mixed together like in a kaleidoscope that always reserves some surprises. I am a deeply optimistic person and my creations tell about the joy of living and love for beauty.

Among your clients, people like Queen Rania of Jordan, Baroness Von Tissen, Diana Ross, Amy Stewart, actress Misha Barton. What kind of accessories are customers looking for?
They seek the originality of the product. My creations have particular details, they are well finished because they are made by skilled hands. My seamstresses and my embroiderers with their precious hands give life to true masterpieces of craftsmanship and who love beauty know how to recognize certain details. I choose every element and every detail with care and I look for each element for harmony to enhance the entire creation.

Let’s talk about the meeting with Rania of Jordan and the accessory she chose from your collection…
Rania di Giordania bought a pink fox collar and a hand-made bag that had a beautiful flower in 2002 in a boutique of Porto Cervo. Accessories with those features did not yet exist. I also remember the purchase of Baroness Von Tissen who chose a pink silk bag for Felipe of Spain’s wedding. The photos of her with my creation in her hand came out on all the magazines and for me it was a great emotion.

What does beauty and elegance mean to you?
They are an indissoluble and inseparable mix. However, an elegant person exudes beauty. I believe that an elegant woman always manages to give an impression of beauty regardless of her features. The winning combination of beauty and elegance is good taste. If you don’t have good taste you can never be elegant. Even the most beautiful person is subject to the passage of time and although time can tarnish beauty it can do nothing against elegance. Elegance must be measured, excesses are never elegant, nothing is enough to fall into too much. Elegance is a subtle thread.

What can never miss in a woman’s bag?
It is essential to have a perfume and a lipstick in your bag.

How important was Sicily for your creations?
It was and it is the fundamental element. Living in a place like Modica made sure that I was totally involved, immersed in wonder, in the taste for beauty and I sublimated the love for my city through my creativity. I owe everything to the sea, to the light, to the landscape. If I lived in a foggy and impersonal place, I could not create this.



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