Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.
Fausto Puglisi: Leaving the Roman Legions
A designer pushing for the beauty of going slow
28 Февраля 2016
Fausto Puglisi has always had a penchant for Ancient Rome as conceived by Hollywood, where he first made his mark as a designer.
I associate him with dressing Madonna, and I remember his daring gowns, part-classic Roman draped but split to the waist to show a naked hip and leg. But when I went backstage before the show, he spoke about Madonna only in relation to a cape.
A cape? As we talked, all was revealed. “I was thinking about sportswear but using classic fabrics, and I started with the decoration of the typical Mediterranean cape worn by priests around 1700,” Fausto said, adding that it was a similar decoration he had used for a Madonna outfit. The designer had moved away from women parading like Roman legionnaires in party clothes to something less overtly sexy.
Apart from his signature palm tree motif, which was used on a high-thigh split as those gladiator straps wound around the legs, the show was more approachable. The rigid, lampshade skirts had deflated, the jackets looked softer, and colours such as burgundy warmed up the previous silver chill. Even the geometric patterns had been calmed down. “I wanted it to be a very complete wardrobe, so I started to think about a very young girl, a teen, and an eighty-five to ninety-year-old woman. I like life too much, I like women, I like people that enjoy beauty, and enjoy fashion. I could never just think about a conservative woman or a sexy woman; I like both,” the designer announced.
Significantly, like many Italian designers, 38-year-old Fausto Puglisi is interested by the process of making clothes as much as by their design — which puts his fashion into a different category from clothes that might initially seem similar. “When a painter designs something, or a writer wants to write a book, it’s about the stomach, it’s about the heart, it’s about emotion,” Puglisi says. “I like to go by myself to the artisans, to follow them from the embroidery to the fur, to the knit, to the leather — it’s something that I can’t resist.”
So I asked Fausto, as a relatively new designer without a powerful backer, what he feels about the “buy-now, sell-now”, high-speed fashion concept, launched by Burberry and now in discussion across the fashion world. “I believe it’s very important that people out there understand that if you want something made with a sense of beauty and craftsmanship, you need to wait,” he said. “I think about my workers. You need to pay them, you need to respect their time, and they have to be happy to create beautiful things. They are our resource and you can’t transform them into slaves. We have incredible companies doing fast fashion, doing fun things. But that is another story. If you want something special, you need to wait.”
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