Fausto Puglisi: “Ungaro matches my world in its colors, disorder and very feminine side”
He is the new name to be reckoned with in the fashion world. In a few months, the 36-year-old Sicilian designer, whose clothes are at once sensual and baroque, has become the darling of the international press. During Milan Fashion Week, which ended Tuesday, February 26, Fausto Puglisi’s much-lauded women’s ready-to-wear catwalk earned him a place fashion’s pantheon. All eyes are now on Paris, where he will unveil his collection for Emanuel Ungaro at a runway show to be held Monday, March 4.
The relaunch of the brand was assigned to the Italian fashion group Aeffe last September through a licensing agreement. Now the new creative director of French fashion house Emanuel Ungaro, Fausto Puglisi talks with us about his career and how he is approaching this new adventure.
FashionMag.com:How do you view this first major runway show in Paris?
Fausto Puglisi: I love France and I’m very excited. This will be my first real Parisian experience, especially because up until now, I was focused on the United States. I was deeply moved when I visited the headquarters of the house on avenue Montaigne. Emanuel Ungaro completely matches my world in its colors, disorder and very feminine side. It made me dream when I was young as much as Christian Lacroix and Gianni Versace. It had a fiery temperament, but with a sense of couture and exceptional color. Lately, I’ve been highly courted, but I decided to work with this label because it allows me to devote myself to another name without altering my style.
FM: What will this collection be like?
FP: I cannot reveal anything to you just now. But I promise some big surprises.
FM: How did you get into fashion?
FP: This was always my passion. Once I finished high school in Messina, Sicily, where I was born, I went to the United States, which was my dream. I joined a cousin who worked in a restaurant in New York, Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Grill. I worked the coatroom and I started making contacts, including Patti Wilson, the fashion stylist for many celebrities. One thing led to another and I ended up in California where I met Arianne Phillips, Madonna’s stylist. I started to create special, unique clothes for this singer and other stars like Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue. It was like living one surprise ending after another!
FM: What happened then?
FP:From there, the first orders came in from American department stores. Besides these strong pieces, I created slightly more commercial capsule collections. In 2006, I returned to Italy to collaborate with Donatella Versace. Then I went to Istanbul to work for a specialized leather goods manufacturer that supplied major brands.
FM: How did you start your own line?
FP: Thanks to my experience in America, my work began to gain attention from a small number of clients and people in the fashion world, including Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. In 2010, they offered me an opportunity to distribute my work in their Milan boutique for young designers, Via Spiga 2, at the same time being highly supportive. From then on, everything changed. Major buyers contacted me.
FM: Where are you now with your brand?
FP: I’m trying to structure the small company founded with my partner Gianluca Romanò. We have around one hundred top multi-brand customers such as Scout in Paris, Biffi in Milan, but also stores in Japan, Dubai and Hong Kong.
FM: How would you define your style?
FP: My world is inspired by both Italian couture and American counter-culture. I am particularly very attached to Mediterranean craftsmanship. All my metal decorations and jewelry, for example, are made by a craftsman in Sicily. My collections are entirely made in Italy. For fabrics, I work with a company out of Modena, the prints are manufactured in Como, the embroidery in Lodi, etc.
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