Maurizio Galante

In Italy, fashion has always been considered art. Even the Futurists saw fashion as a medium that operated entirely in the way their celebrated manifesto prescribed – celebrating the new, obliterating the old, blurring the frontiers between art and industry, and seeing style as both a social and aesthetic statement. Maurizio Galante’s conception of fashion puts him unquestionably in the tradition of the Futurists – seeing clothing as an individual form of expression. That is the spirit he has brought with him into the 21st century, cutting across traditional fashion thinking with new ideas. The same innovative spirit prompted him, for example, to design a bathing suit that discolours in polluted water and so subtly warns its wearer of a threat.
Born in Latina, Italy, in 1963, Galante grew up in a historic landscape and was confronted at every corner with traces of the past, a fact later reflected in the opulence and exoticism of his collections, which were inspired by the antique and the Oriental. He studied at the Accademia di Costume e Moda in Rome before setting up his own Maurizio Galante X Circolare label in 1985. Entering the world of haute couture eight years later, at thirty he became the youngest permanent member of the “inner circle” of the fashion world. Since then, he has taken part in the official calendar of haute couture shows.
Galante differs from most of his col­leagues in his universal approach to design, a tradition entrenched in Italy since the Renaissance. He designs lighting and furniture regularly shown at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. His chairs look as if they have donned extravagant clothes. His enthusiasm for craft skills turns his clothes into precious objects that can take up to 300 hours to make, resulting in outfits that are so artfully put together that they could easily feature as exhibition pieces. Galante uses 18th-century lace, or knits a complete bolero of swan feathers. His oeuvre spans the whole gamut of aesthetic composition, from Japanese school-uniforms to an award-winning food recipe. Unique in his way, he also shows his fashions in unusual places such as Caracas, Africa, or Peking’s Great Hall of the People.
In his own words, the essential aspect of his work is a love of craftsmanship: “I conceive my designs, be they haute couture pieces, a light or a vase, to convey feelings and emotions ... The connection is impor­tant: between myself, the producer of the object, and the person who will see the completed object. Love is the connecting fibre. Love of the craft that is invested in the conception and making of the object.”

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