Imbuing textiles with life, couturier and creative powerhouse Maurizio Galante brings drama to the haute couture catwalk.
Bringing drama to the catwalk as a couturier and creative tour de force, Maurizio Galante's talent extends beyond the catwalk.
Since Italian born, Paris-based designer Maurizio Galante made his debut on the Paris catwalk in 1991 – first with ready-to-wear, now as a fully-fledged haute couturier - he has flourished into undoubtedly one of the city's most exciting talents. His recent collection, presented during the Paris haute couture collections illustrated an astute understanding of form, structure and a keen eye for textural effect, which won him high praise.
Famed for his avant-garde approach, Galante broke new ground in 2000 with the launch of an interactive e-commerce site, allowing clients to collaborate with the design process, from customization to couture, from anywhere in the world.
As a former student of design at the Accademia di Costume e Mode and architecture at the University of Rome he has recently expanded his repertoire, applying the later to interior and furniture design. This year the designer will present his second furniture collection at Milan's Salone del Mobile in April.
Maurizio Galante's definition of luxury:
The time that we dedicate to ourselves
If luxury were...
A special person
A pleasurable moment
You studied design and architecture, what made you choose a career as a couturier?
Because in architecture the time between the idea and the final finished project is so long, and you need to compromise, often it's a compromise between a lot of different people, whereas in fashion you arrive more directly at the final object.
You work within many different areas of creativity, do you feel that couture is the core area, where your expertise lie most?
It is the major part of my work, but I also work in interiors, furniture, decoration and jewelry – many different fields – but couture is the most important for me. I consider my couture as pieces, it's not really fashion, they are more objects than dresses
Did you always feel that you were destined for a creative career?
I really like working around the body, the same in architecture too, you are always considering the body because you create objects for where people spend time, I love the idea of making something that is designed around the person.
You have a truly diverse portfolio of projects, from couture and customization, to furniture and garden design, and you have even created recipes! How did these opportunities present themselves?
I propose myself to different companies and I think that the person or companies strive to have a different vision and they appreciate my personal vision, so we work together.
Is there any other area that you would like to explore creatively?
Not for the moment. Right now I'm applying myself to fashion and design, so I think that's ok for now.
Have you ever faced hostility or criticism for applying your creativity across such a broad range of areas?
It's strange because sometimes people don't understand my ways, they try to classify me, but I continue my work, and there are people that love my work, so for me the idea of working in different fields is very enriching.
What are you currently working on?
I'm working on furniture for the forthcoming Milan Furniture Fair. I'm doing another collection for Baleri Italia and another manufacturer, but it's a little secret at the moment.
I'm also working with my partner on the MUDAM museum in Luxembourg. We are in charge of the store and the restaurant, there's also a new collaboration for jewelry and a new bag project. The company contacted me and we chose the name, Zelucci, together, so it was really great because we started the project from zero. It's really exciting. The name Zelucci comes from the name of the old lady who makes clothes and bags for my mother and my grandmother. The idea behind it is that each piece is something to treasure.
How do you define your design style?
I think it is personal and now. It is really important for me to work in the moment.
You created 'virtual couture' with the creation of your interactive website in 2000, which also now includes denim customization as well as a service which allows clients to be involved in the design process. How did the idea come about, how has it evolved and what plans do you have for this area for the future?
I opened my interactive site in 2000 because for me it was more interesting than a simple catalogue. My interest in the internet was that it is possible to collaborate with people, so I began to think about this and to develop the project. More and more I would like to interact with my clients via the internet. I find the possibility to connect with them very exciting.
The mail order industry has historically been snubbed by the luxury industry until only recently. Exponents of online retail, such as yourself and Couture Lab, for whom you have created designs are changing e-commerce's image, what do you attribute this change in people's attitudes towards the internet?
Today the idea of couture is research, so the idea to buy by internet is just this. I love this idea because you reach clients all over the world. For me this is the future.
Designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier have entered the virtual realm, launching and presenting products within Second Life, is this something that interests you?
I find it very interesting because it is something completely abstract, something dreamlike. It's not something that I am involved in at the moment, but I can certainly appreciate it and I am meeting the people from the site, so we are thinking about it.
Your recent collection which you showed last week in Paris, was an incredible success, can you tell me about the collection?
It is taken from a page of my book. Every year is a continuation. I study and work around movement. For me movement around the body to emphasize the gesture, it is really important. I don't want to make something rigid. When you see the show, everything is fluid, the pieces become like animals, they are alive.
Do you feel that your architectural background has influenced your fashion in terms of construction and exploration of textures and techniques?
Absolutely. When I studied architecture my professor always said "Don't forget, you need to make something for you" You have to make something that makes sense. It is impossible to make a door without the objective of opening it, so in this sense one shouldn't make a dress that is restrictive or unwearable.
Where do you look for ideas and inspiration
I really appreciate nature. A lot of my ideas comes from the color and structure of flowers, from feathers and the movement of birds. I really observe nature.
What are your interests?
Nature is very important, I really love plants. I also love art. I love art that is either really modern, or art from the middle ages, not so much from Europe, but mainly from Italy. I collect art. My favorite artists are, at the moment Erina Matsui and I really love the Iraqi photographer Nobu Yoshi.