For Milan-based Francesca Liberatore, a design career was somewhat inevitable. Her father, renowned sculptor Bruno Liberatore, has an entire room at Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum dedicated to his work. Yet her artist mother was determined not to let her daughter become a “starving artist.” As Liberatore recounts: “she said to me, either you go to the best design-oriented university, or you have to become an engineer.” So Central Saint Martins it was. After leaving London, Liberatore held positions at Viktor & Rolf, Brioni, and Jean Paul Gaultier before launching her eponymous label in 2009 after winning the Italian fashion council’s Next Generation competition. In 2014, Liberatore’s work garnered her the DHL Exported Award, which, in conjunction with IMG, has allowed Liberatore to present her collections during New York Fashion Week for the last three years.