Photo credit Claiborne Swanson Frank
Interview

Danielle Corona

10.07.13

Accessories designer Danielle Corona is the creative force behind luxury label Hunting Season. The Miami native started her fashion career in Rome, working in the accessory atelier at Valentino under Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, and later at VBH where she consulted on accessory design. In 2006, Corona decamped to New York to officially launch Hunting Season, a line that showcases the evolution of Corona’s childhood years spent playing with discarded horn scraps on a Florida cattle ranch into standout bags and leather goods highlighted by repurposed cow horn, exotic skins and Italian hardware—undoubtedly Corona’s signature.

Interview

A Miami native, you started your fashion career in Rome – what led you to Europe as opposed to New York?

I had the opportunity to intern at Valentino, which is based in Rome. There I worked in the accessories studio under Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, current creative directors for the brand. This was an opportunity I could not miss. Craftsmanship in Italy is by far superior to the rest of the world and there I would have the opportunity to experience it first hand.

What was the working environment like at Valentino?

I was honored to have this opportunity to work in the studio for this Italian house with so many talented artists, who I have followed and admired for so long. At the time, Valentino was still designing. The building itself is next to Piazza di Spagna and on my walk up to the accessories studio, I would have to walk by the couture rooms where all the seamstresses, dressed in all white uniforms, worked intricately on the beautiful gowns. Pierpaolo and Maria Grazia where heading the accessory department at the time.

How did your time there influence Hunting Season?

I was lucky enough to travel to Florence with Maria Grazia to experience factory visits. Valentino works with the top manufacturers in Italy, and I got to know them, and continue to work with some of them still today, for Hunting Season.

When did you decide to launch your own line? Are you still based out of Italy?

I am currently living between Bogota, CO and NYC. We are now producing Hunting Season in both cities. I started Hunting Season while in Italy as a personal project, as I was able to sell the pieces I made. I realized how much I would love to create a brand, and continued to add to the collection bit by bit.

Where do you source your skins?

Our skins come from different parts of the world — Philippines, Indonesia, France, Spain, and Colombia.

How difficult is it working with cow horn? What other unique materials do you incorporate into your designs?

Cow horn is very difficult to work with because it has a tendency to move back into its original form. This limits the designs I can use this material for. It also means that each piece takes long to produce because the steps of treating, flattening, and polishing the horn takes days, and this is only the first step. In the end, it is worth the effort as each piece of horn is always a surprise because no two pieces are identical, and once polished, its natural markings can be seen clearer. I also work with exotic skins: python, crocodile, shagreen, ostrich and lizard.

Your collection features very distinct shapes – does each season contain the same styles updated with a little something different?

I like to think that the styles we feature are timeless, and a few have become signature pieces to our collections, these pieces are reintroduced throughout the seasons in different materials and color ways. I also think it is exciting to create different styles per season depending on what the collection is built around.

Have you done any collaborations?

I am currently working on a project for Harry Winston – I am making pieces for their stores (not for retail) as they are in the process of redesigning their stores around the world.

Is the collection presented in Europe?

Hunting Season is not yet presented in Europe, but we hope to show there next season as we have had many requests and have many private clients from around the world.

What inspired the name Hunting Season?

The name was originally inspired by the film “Gosford Park”, which is set in an English manor during a hunting party. The idea was to create a brand that was traditional and timeless. This movie continues as a reference on our mood-boards as inspiration for our collections every season.