Clothing and Photography by Leandro of TigerHeat Productions
Photography featured for Desnudo UK Magazine are by Rebecca Chivs
Willpower is the power and motivation of following what you dream. I have always dreamt a lot in my life, but there is never "too much!”
The very first step in creating this bodysuit was a request of a friend of mine: shooting an indie movie. He needed a piece for a dream-like scene, very surreal and Fellini style (my favorite movie director), where the actor was a vintage wrestler.
I have always had a fascination with the retro style. Every decade has its own interesting moments (way more than now, I feel very nostalgic)... so the piece has inspirations from different times. I love the icon of the Strong Man at the carnivals of the '20s, the bathing suits of the '30s and '40s, the leotards and the wrestlers of the '80s (especially the obscure ones, that had few seconds of introduction and always lost against the main champion), the Old Hollywood era, the androgyny of the '70s...
All of those aspects converged into creating the first piece, the orange one, and I liked it so much that I decided to do a production and start selling it online.
My inspiration also came from my major in Art History. Even if there is not really an artist that inspired this piece, I guess I elaborated on all my favorite maestri and came up with this idea. I have always been fascinated by fashion, even if I wouldn't call myself a fashion designer. I am Italian and always loved the creations of Italian designers such as Valentino and especially Gianfranco Ferrè, my favorite, that has designed Christian Dior for 8 years along with his own clothing line which was characterized by strong constructed volumes and shapes.
Again, those wrestlers were my main inspiration. They were not famous; nobody was interested in them. Their only job was to step in the ring and get beaten up and humiliated by the main star of the evening, but they were always more interesting and handsome than the champ. Sometimes, they were just incredibly beautiful, and I always wondered why they were not the main attention? This bodysuit is my homage for all those nameless beautiful guys that had the balls to do what they did!
It is definitely a risquè design, but who cares? When you are happy with your body, you don't mind showing some irony or some fun! People wear them a lot under some shorts or blue jeans and a jacket which can be a stylish and fashionable compromise. Prints are very on-trend this year with Versace, Dolce&Gabbana, Gucci and the Kenzo jungle. I made my own with tiger and cheetah and a precious black lace version.
I would totally say masculine but with a feminine touch. I think of them as masculine because my primary inspiration came from those wrestlers. You saw many of them in the old times wearing singlets like this. Maybe they were not that high cut and exposing, but the base was the same.
Last year was been an amazing year for Tigerheat Productions, and this year is growing even more; I am very stoked by the love people are showing. Last summer, so many people sent me their photos from Fire Island Pines and from different parties in Los Angeles. There was always someone telling me that they saw the suits around; it was incredible.
My ultimate goal would be to expand the line which is already happening! From the original orange one, the other 4 styles have been added, and the best-sellers are actually the black one and the cheetah print. I'd promote it to personalities that want to have this style part of the everyday wardrobe. Some super cool guys have supported this project such as Luke Days (the editor of British GQ who has always been a sexy fashion icon in his looks) and Casey Spooner (a singer I have always admired for years.) We got featured on V magazine, and recently, we got our first cover!
Also, I would like to build more conceptual and creative sides to it. I have a painter, and I would love to create more connections with art which is my main passion. I want to collaborate with other artists to interpret my piece and create more ideas together. I want to work with videographers to create short films in a very conceptual and artistic way.
Lastly, this project has inspired me to write my first gay novel. It has been selected by an Italian publishing company, and it will be in the bookstores very soon; I do want now to translate it in English and have some readers here as well! It is a novel of growth set in the '70s. It follows a young man trying to break into the world of professional wrestling in Las Vegas. People that have read it appreciated the strong Americana and melancholic feeling that pervades the story, and that made me very happy.
I did get some challenges. It was my first time going through the production process and dealing with the factory and samples, etc, but luckily all went pretty smoothly! In the beginning, it was harder to be taken seriously by influencers and models, but I guess it is part of the game, so I am grateful for how things are now. I feel great respect and appreciation from the community.
I have always believed in the power of the mind and the will. I am an easygoing and chill guy. I learned through all my life to take things without stress, to treat people with respect, and that is the base of my philosophy.
I have pretty much known for all my life what I liked. It may be because when I was younger, I spent a lot of time by myself, looking at things, reading, and studying, so my personality was very much shaped by that experience. I knew what I wanted and what I liked, so I just started working in the directions I was following. That opened new ideas and visions that I started following as well, and if I didn't know how, I just studied more to get the control or at least a grasp of them. It was a natural process that I enjoyed very much... even if it can be very frustrating, but we all know it is the course and blessing of an artist!