Posso means “I can” in Italian, which is fitting for lifelong friends Vanessa Giovacchini and Marylouise Pels, who are having their way with the music and fashion industries. The statuesque BFFs—equal parts beautiful and badass—grew up in wine country in California’s Sonoma Valley, making their cultural influence today all the more unexpected and impressive. The multitalented twenty-somethings are already Volcom-collaborating designers, Style.com blogger-ambassadors, Nylon (Singapore edition) cover models and W Hotels-sponsored producers/DJs/singers. Catch Posso on August 17 during their Commonwealth rooftop residency.
You have said of your upbringing, “Music was the glue that held us together in our fantasy world of design and culture.” How did that fantasy world look?
Giovacchini: Growing up in Sonoma, it was basically the country, so we were reading fashion and researching music, listening to Led Zeppelin and going through a ton of fashion magazines. We pulled out these beautiful, incredible images from W Magazine and covered Marylouise’s wall. That was our little world.
Pels: It was a guest room that had converted into my room and it had floral wallpaper and I fucking hated it. In high school, for our senior project, we put together a fashion show. That was the first time we saw our vision come together.
So what came first: the music or the fashion?
Pels: Fashion came first. We made a line of leather accessories called Posso the Spat, and we had some celebrities wear them, such as Rihanna and Katy Perry. We wanted to introduce something to the fashion world that no one [had] done before. And we felt like spats, which are leather shoe covers, change up your look. We followed suit with Posso the DJ to kind of market the spats. And then we just stuck with Posso to encapsulate all of the creative projects we wanted to do.
Does music influence fashion or vice versa?
Pels: Music influences fashion, hands down, 100 percent. If you look at huge musical influencers, such as Madonna or Mick Jagger, you see people who don’t come from money, basically throwing things together. That’s where individual style comes from, and that’s inspired by music. Music is a lifestyle. Music is a feeling, and everything kind of derives from that. There are people who are fashionable without music, but music is so much more multidimensional and can read your heart more than fashion can and to a greater audience.
Giovacchini: Music is a feeling that inspires you to dress more than fashion would inspire you to write a song.
What has been your favorite fashion phase?
Giovacchini: When we did our spats, our look was very futuristic, biker chick. Everything was embossed in crocodile leather, and we did lots of turquoise and fuchsia—very Mad Max-inspired. A lot of our looks were very space vixen, super hero, or post-apocalyptic weird gypsy.
Pels: At that time it was all about weird vintage finds and all leather accessories.
Marylouise, you have said, “Both music and fashion are very much run by popular trends, but we’ll always have a reemergence of classic sounds or classic looks once the trend is exhausted.” Any examples come to mind?
Pels: Maybe this is too far out here, but we were talking gay marriage and how those are the kind of laws that really matter, because once the government puts a legal stamp on it, people are more inclined to feel okay with who they are. Now a lot of our friends are coming out, finally. But during Roman and Greek times, being gay was the norm. Then you have the fall of the Roman Empire, you have government putting their stamp against people being completely luxurious and having all these bacchanals, where sex was just free and open. Then you had the Dark Ages, and then Renaissance came after that … That’s how trends happen: Everything is reactionary. Something runs its course until it all crashes down and then you have the complete opposite.
Giovacchini: With music, the electronic dance music boom and the rise of the DJ is kind of a product of the recession, because of the change of the music industry and how music is made and the recession affecting bands touring. People aren’t going to see a really expensive concert when they can go to a club and get that same energy from just one person.
Who is more talented at what?
Pels: Vanessa’s more fashion, I’m more music. I’m a classical pianist, but Vanessa was also a published poet in college.
Giovacchini: I’m better at constructing fashion, knowing how things fit together, and technically, she’s stronger in music because she’s classically trained.
I hear DJs predict a return of live music, even in nightclubs.
Giovacchini: I think that, too. Now that DJs are kind of taking over, live music is going to be incorporated into DJ sets, which is something we’re working on.
What separates talented DJs from run-of-the-mill ones?
Pels: I get disappointed when I see a DJ playing music that’s like six months old. I know there’s a lot of club politics, but there’s a way to keep club promoters happy and keep people happy. Underestimating your audience is the biggest mistake DJs make. Kids come up to us when we play a new rare track that came out that day and they’ll know it! We don’t underestimate that.
Any other “loves” or “hates” within the fashion and music cultures today?
Pels: My one dislike is how we live in a world where the Internet is so prominent you would think that bloggers would have more diversity, but I feel like everything is really looking more and more the same. It’s like one thing gets cool, and Forever 21 makes it, NastyGal makes it: “Everyone, this is the look, OK?” It’s like hyper-speed fashion.
Giovacchini: Same with music, I’m looking for something that I’ve never really heard before, that strikes me in a way that’s like a fraction of that feeling of falling in love. It’s always frustrating for me because with so many songs I’m like, “Did I hear this already?”
Pels: Alternatively, technology allows people to have a chance to put their creative visions out there.
Giovacchini: It’s really cool that you can find on Soundcloud an 18-year-old-kid in Manchester, England making the most amazing song and play it that night.
Share a little-known fact.
Giovacchini: I dated an Italian soap-opera actor while studying in Florence, Italy. He was in the show Incantesimo, and we were ever so.
He was my first dramatic heartbreak, a romance worthy of a soap opera itself.
Pels: I got married in Vegas once. It was 5 a.m. after we finished DJing at the Cosmopolitan. At the time, I thought marriage was bollocks and took a dare from the dude I was dating. I Britney’d that shit immediately after. It was an absurdly fun night.