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April 21 2014

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11 posts tagged "Fausto Puglisi"

London’s Victoria & Albert Museum Explores the Past and Future of Italian Glamour

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Glamour of Italian Fashion

“Viva Italia!” says London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. For its latest exhibition, The Glamour of Italian Fashion: 1945-2014, the institution has embraced la dolce vita, filling its hallowed halls with all things Italiani. The show charts Italy’s growth as a fashion powerhouse, from the first fashion shows at the Sala Bianca in the 1950s through the symbolic development of the Made in Italy label, and into the 21st century via a dazzling array of new designer names.

The exhibition endeavors to shed light on how Italian glamour first came to be. And while Italy might not now have the same clout on the global fashion scene as it did in the late 20th century, the exhibition explores the transformative power Italian glam has always held and—via video interviews with Angela Missoni, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino, and Vogue Italia‘s Franca Sozzani—hints at what the country’s sartorial future may hold.

While Milan’s big hitters (like Valentino, above) obviously get their deserved time in the spotlight, it’s heartening to see the likes of Fausto Puglisi and Stella Jean in the installation, too, especially considering Milan’s tough reputation for emerging designers. Here, Style.com speaks with curator Sonnet Stanfill, herself wearing a modern design from Fausto Puglisi, about Italian fashion’s humble beginnings, the evolution of Milan fashion week, and the power of glamour.

Why was now the right time to look at Italian glamour?
I think we’re opening at a really interesting time. The Camera Nazionale della Moda recently appointed a British female executive, Jane Reeve, to the new position of CEO, indicating their own awareness that they really need to shake things up. There’s been a lot of anxiety-ridden self-examination within the Italian fashion industry about its own future. We wanted to bring that debate within the four walls of the museum, so that’s why we ended the show with those filmed interviews with designers responding to questions about the future, about the difficulties of doing business in Italy today. Opening now feels timely because Italy is at a crossroads.

What makes Italian fashion so distinctive?

It’s multilayered. One key aspect is the strength of the country’s production, which is a unique feature of the Italian fashion system—you have whole valleys of the countryside dedicated to one kind of product. Silk in Como, leather goods in Tuscany, wool in Biella. That specialism has resulted in products of an extremely high quality. So that emphasis on materials, specialization, and techniques runs right throughout the exhibition.

Glamour of Italian Fashion

Do you think there is a need for new energy and fresh talent within Italy?
I absolutely do. If we had more space, I would have included more young names. We’ve been able to include designers like Stella Jean, whose Haitian-Roman parentage makes her Italian, but she sources textiles from Burkina Faso. And we’ve got Fausto Puglisi, whom I admire very much and who is a passionate supporter of Made in Italy. He sources his leather from Tuscany, his silk from Como. He’s obsessed about the craft. And that’s the type of voice that Italy needs for its future: that passion and dedication to materials, excitement, an original voice. I think he’s got a great future ahead of him.

What do you think Milan fashion week can do to reassert itself on a global stage?

Milan itself recognizes that it has to do more to support young designers. Franca Sozzani and her talent contest, Who Is on Next, in collaboration with Altaroma, does quite a bit to scout and mentor young designers. Stella Jean is a product of that contest. But more needs to be done in that area, and it’s still notoriously difficult to break into the Milan calendar. Fausto Puglisi describes breaking into the Milan fashion industry as going into battle.

The V&A’s exhibitions often like to put things into a broader context. Was that important in the making of The Glamour of Italian Fashion?

You can see that from the first moment you walk into the show, with a large photograph of Florence bombed in 1946 after the war. The easy thing to do would have been to launch into the Sala Bianca and its beautiful gowns, but I really wanted our visitor to understand what Italy looked like then. It was poor. It had only 50 percent literacy at that time. Most people worked as farmers, and in order to understand the true glamour of the Sala Bianca catwalk and what that meant for Italy, you really had to know that it was coming from a place of near despair. It’s a powerful contrast.

Glamour of Italian FashionWhy do you think we are so drawn to glamour?

I think fashion is a very optimistic enterprise. Because when you are buying a dress or choosing elements for your wardrobe, there is an act of self-creation involved, and with fashion itself, there is a dynamic of optimism with the changes involved. You’re thinking, If I just buy this one dress, I might look completely different! The word optimism is very apt for a lot of the fashion stories told here. There’s a lot of entrepreneurship involved—these are designers who start from nothing and can create fashion houses from nowhere.

What are some of your favorite pieces in the exhibition?

One of my favorites is the design by Mila Schön for Lee Radziwill to wear to Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball. It has long sleeves and silver sequins in a beautiful meandering pattern. We have a photograph of her dancing with Truman Capote on the catwalk, which shows that she has already checked her coat, but I think that evening coat and dress combination feels very 1960s. But what I really love is that the dress tells a wider story. It was worn by a woman who was known for her French couture wardrobe, and she chose an Italian to dress her for what Gloria Steinem described as “the party of the year” in Vogue. So only fifteen years after the first Italian fashion show in 1951, we have one of the best-dressed women in the world choosing a designer like Mila Schön for a party as grand as that. I love it on many levels.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion: 1945-2014 runs at the Victoria & Albert Museum through July 27.

Photo: Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum 

The Split-Second Preview: Fausto Puglisi

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The Fall ’14 Ready-to-Wear collections move on to Milan tomorrow, and will be followed by the shows in Paris. Before the new clothes hit the runway, we’ve asked some of the most anticipated names to offer a sneak peek. Per usual, it’s a busy time for all—designers and fashion followers alike—so we’re continuing our split-second previews: tweet-length at 140 characters or less. Our entire collection of Fall ’14 previews is available here.

Fausto

WHO: Fausto Puglisi

WHERE: Milan

WHEN: Wednesday, February 19

WHAT: “Obsession! Perfection! Imperfection! Ballet de Russie! Malevich! Fast! Next dress! Emotional! Americana! Go further! Creation, color, and destruction!” — Fausto Puglisi. The designer sent us a snap of his Fall ’14 mood board, above.

Photo: Courtesy of Fausto Puglisi

Runway to Red Carpet: Forever Floral

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Emmy Rossum , Zhang Ziyi, and Mindy Kaling

This week, celebs hit the red carpet in a veritable bouquet of floral off-the-runway wares. As we were merrymaking Stateside, Zhang Ziyi arrived at Le Grand Bal de la Comédie-Française in Paris on July 4 wearing some brand-new Giambattista Valli Fall ’13 Couture. The gown—mermaid-finned and pontifically white, thanks to the designer’s porcelain-inspired theme—boasted dainty forget-me-nots cascading downward. Also on Independence Day, Mindy Kaling went to Guy Oseary’s Fourth of July party in Los Angeles wearing a floral-blocked take on a Marc Jacobs Resort ’13 dress.

On Tuesday in New York, Blake Lively headed to the premiere of hubby Ryan Reynolds’ new film,Turbo, donning a crystal-covered skirt from Burberry Prorsum Resort ’14. While not technically flora, the embellishments’ effect was one of dense, twinkling petals. The same day in L.A., Diane Kruger arrived at Jimmy Kimmel Live! sporting Emanuel Ungaro Resort ’14. The Fausto Puglisi-designed outfit featured little white daisies on a pastel-banded, black silk skirt.

On Wednesday, Emmy Rossum wore a Carolina Herrera Resort ’14 number with aplomb to Persol’s “Magnificent Obsessions: 30 Stories of Craftsmanship in Film” opening in Queens. The skirt’s big cobalt petals were accented by a skinny vermillion-bowed band across the waist, which the Shameless star further highlighted with a scarlet CH Carolina Herrera clutch.

Photos: Getty Images

Seven Suggestions For Improving Milan Fashion Week

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Gildo Zegna, Patrizio Bertelli, Cav. Mario Boselli, and Diego Della Valle during the Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana press conference in Milan

At 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana held a press conference at which attendance had been all but mandated weeks in advance. The early, un-Italian hour was no doubt meant to indicate the seriousness of the occasion, as was a lineup of speakers that included Patrizio Bertelli, Diego Della Valle, and Gildo Zegna, all of whom have joined the organization’s new board. Essentially, these captains of one of Italy’s most important and cherished industries have banded together to reinvigorate Milan’s increasingly hidebound fashion weeks. “I’ve heard the word boring,” Zegna acknowledged, though he insisted that wasn’t the case. The speeches were heavy on sweeping statements and light on concrete details, which provoked the assembly of sleep-deprived journalists into a volley of probing questions. Bertelli had earlier compared his fellow board members to “senators of fashion,” and he might have been thinking, Et tu, Suzy? as the International New York Times‘ Suzy Menkes led a round of interrogation into everything from Milan’s inhospitality to young designers to its perceived shortcomings on the digital front. Bertelli is no pushover, and he gave as good as he got. When a French journalist asked why we were only hearing from old men (Angela Missoni was a mostly silent presence on the board today), the Prada CEO told him he’d be a dangerous old man himself if he didn’t change his attitude, and then unexpectedly pointed out that Italy was the first country to abolish slavery, in the 1300s. By the end, one attendee was muttering, “Business as usual,” but if the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, then today’s announcement should be welcomed as a positive development. Certainly there is enough firepower and entrepreneurial know-how on this new board to solve world peace, let alone bring new energy to a fashion week. Zegna stressed that the process would be a dialogue and said suggestions would be encouraged. In that spirit, here are seven modest proposals for improving Milan fashion week.

1. Lure young, international designers to Milan.
Menkes wondered how Milan would be replacing Burberry and Alexander McQueen, two brands that have recently decamped back to their native London. But the city’s relatively uncrowded schedule could be one of its biggest assets. Given how ridiculously packed the New York and, increasingly, London and Paris schedules have become, you would think any number of hot young brands could be persuaded to believe that they’d have a better chance of standing out in Milan. If access to Italy’s unparalleled production expertise were thrown in as part of the deal, who could resist?

2. Take the show on the road.
The British Fashion Council and, to some extent, the U.S.-based CFDA have done a good job of promoting their designers abroad. As part of the London Showrooms events, a dozen young U.K. talents have even careened around Hong Kong together on a bus. While there are barely enough young Milan-based designers to fill a Smart car let alone a minibus, and its more established designers are already well known internationally, it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with the right kind of touring exhibition. Picture a mix of up-and-comers such as Umit Benan, Andrea Pompilio, and Fausto Puglisi; some cult brands like MP Massimo Piombo and Aspesi; and a couple of designer offshoots like Versace’s Versus line and Lapo Elkann’s highly covetable new made-to-measure collaboration with Gucci—all introduced by a charming, high-profile figure (yes, we’re talking to you, Lapo). That would go some way to showing the rest of the world the extent of Italy’s ambitions. Continue Reading “Seven Suggestions For Improving Milan Fashion Week” »

Fausto Puglisi To Take The Helm At Emanuel Ungaro

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Emanuel Ungaro is set to make a big comeback next season, and this time around, Lindsay Lohan is not involved. Aeffe has signed on to relaunch the French fashion house with the help of its newly announced creative director, up-and-coming talent Fausto Puglisi. Of the Sicilian designer (the man behind many Madonna and Anna Dello Russo getups), Aeffe chairman Massimo Ferretti tells WWD, “Emanuel Ungaro is a brand that has left a significant mark and still has a lot to say. Puglisi is a young talent with an international visibility, but with strong roots in our Latin world, and who will be able to turn it into a new and contemporary line.” The license for the global production and distribution for the line, an agreement between Ungaro owner Asim Abdullah and his investment vehicle Aimz, will be active for a seven-year period with option to renew.

Photo: Venturelli / Getty Images