Gilberto Calzolari Fall Winter 2019 Collection
Represented by Guitar Advertising & PR.
We live in unusual times, where it is increasingly difficult to distinguish what is real and what is fake, what is natural and what is artificial. There’s a fine line in between, and those that once were classic dualisms – nature vs. science, nature vs. culture – today are no longer such. What is the meaning of concepts such as “nature” and “natural” nowadays? Which values do they underlie? UN-NATURAL moves from this assumption, to reflect on a contemporary aesthetic that has made the de-naturalization and counterfeiting of the natural element its characteristic feature.
Nature has always been at the center of the stylistic universe of Gilberto Calzolari, from his first capsule collection “My Arctic Heart”, dedicated to a world on the brink of extinction, up to the last SS 2019 “Une Partie de Campagne”, a plunge into the Italian countryside through the unexpected usage of a number of eco-sustainable and recycled fabrics, from cupro linen to jute coffee bags embroidered with Swarovski crystals. UN-NATURAL, the new FW 2019-2020 collection, represents at once the coherent development of a precise artistic path and an even more radical and surprising step forward, where the topics of environmental sustainability and respect for our planet are laid out in an extremely creative and original way, not only in the choice of the materials, but also from a thematic and conceptual point of view.
Gilberto Calzolari Fall Winter 2019 Collection
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Photos: Henrik Blomqvist
The theme of a Nature that is altered, filtered and modified by man is in fact at the core of the collection, and explodes in precious brocade fabrics with delicious floral motifs shining in green or copper lamé reflections, as if they were contaminated by acid radiation; or in embroideries shaped as beautiful blossoming flowers, in reality made from recycled plastic bottles – symbol of a nature trapped in plastic. But the collection goes so far as to experiment with fabrics, shapes and colours in an even more conceptual way, with precise references to contemporary art. Thus, if the series of prints with “grid” patterns recalls Mondrian’s use of solid primary colours in a seeming simplicity of pure lines; the light blue top in transparent PVC is a tribute to the provocative works by Damien Hirst, where nature is literally immersed in formaldehyde.
Likewise, proportions carefully play with the silhouette of the female body in an almost abstract manner, with a joyous and romantic approach, and a refined, modern attitude that combines different periods and styles. Thus, the wide sleeves of the light handkerchief dresses and the shoulders of the maxi couture coats – pure ‘80s – clash with the ’60s style “palazzo” trousers with abstract prints; and the ruffle sleeved blouses, the short trapeze dress, and the A-line skirts with side slits become a sequence of geometric patterns that frame the body, while the ring-shaped faux-fur stoles remind us of a class and elegance from the past. Furthermore, volumes and proportions try to portray the fascinating chaos of our times, and although the DNA of the brand remains profoundly chic and feminine, there is no shortage of nods to the sporty elegance prevailing today, revisited in an eccentric and eclectic way: as in the maxi trousers in yellow cady with black grosgrain stripes; or in the maxi shiny coat in royal blue satin, paired with the matte red honeycomb neoprene; or in the denim garments in between military uniforms and ‘80s ski suits; and in the stylised army references, such as stitched-on pockets and couture-style hoods / snow helmets, with precious elastic drawstring fasteners in golden metal.
Suited to a contemporary reality which is so daring and multi-faceted, impossible to cage in one direction, the color palette is surprisingly lively and vibrant for an autumn-winter collection, ranging from black and white to intense yellow, from bright red to electric blue, with a deliberate preference for primary colours.
As for the choice of fabrics, extraordinary for quality and versatility, it is inextricably linked to the theme of eco-sustainability and respect for our planet, thanks to the support of important textile companies that have embraced the “green” issue, and without which this collection, in all its richness and variety, would not have been possible: from GOTS certified silk to eco-sustainable denim, from EVO nylon, extracted from the seeds of the castor plant, to SEAQUAL polyester, derived from the plastic recovered from the sea; and it even involves accessories and embroidery: from the padding, made of fibres 100% recycled from PET bottles, to the coloured die-cast maxi zippers, up to the upcycling of food-grade packaging – nets for the wrapping of citrus fruits – which, decorated with scrap embroidery materials, become couture tulle, proving that elegance and luxury can go hand in hand with the reuse of our resources (for a more detailed and in-depth description please refer to the GREEN acknowledgements section below).
The result – a trait of the Gilberto Calzolari brand – is a collection that combines opulence and cleanness, for a woman at once glamorous and contemporary, refined and playful, lover of beauty and environmentally responsible.
Gilberto Calzolari is a luxury prêt-à-porter brand made in Italy with a “green” heart. His style is represented by the demi-couture dress: fresh, glamorous and romantic – an elegant and timeless design expressed in a refined silhouette of clean lines, exquisite retro details and unexpected combinations. Precious fabrics, complemented by the highest quality in production techniques and tailoring craftsmanship, bear the hallmarks of a brand with a strong identity that is in tune with the needs of contemporary living and reclaims the values of environmental sustainability as well as elegance and excellence typical of luxury Made in Italy, against the prevailing tyranny of today’s fast fashion.
THE FASHION DESIGNER
Winner of the prestigious Franca Sozzani Green Carpet Award 2018 for Best Emerging Designer, Gilberto Calzolari was born and raised in Milan, where he graduated at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. After an impressive career of 15+ years in the fashion industry working for some of the most prestigious international luxury brands such as Marni, Alberta Ferretti, Valentino, Miu Miu and Giorgio Armani, in 2015 decided it was time to create his own. His first collection, FW 2017-18, entitled “My Arctic Heart”, was an ode to nature and to a world on the verge of extinction and, for the occasion, he partnered with Polar Bears International, the world’s leading non-profit organisation dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat, and walked the runway during Milan Fashion Week in a special event organised by Banca Intesa Sanpaolo in partnership with the National Chamber of Italian Fashion. That was followed by the SS 2018 collection “Exotica”, and the FW 2018-19, entitled “2046”, which was first introduced at the Showcase event during Altaroma and then presented in the official calendar of the Milano Fashion Week in February 2018, and in a special runway show event in Rome. His latest SS 2019 collection, entitled “Une Partie de Campagne”, earned him the prestigious award during the 2018 Green Carpet Awards at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
First and foremost a special thanks goes to the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, and to its President Carlo Capasa, for the important support granted, and for the constant commitment towards eco-sustainability, starting from the Green Carpet Awards, for which I would also like to mention Eco-Age and Value Retail.
Then, I’m pleased to name a number of companies that have embraced the principles of environmental sustainability, without which this collection would not have been possible:
CLERICI TESSUTO is one of the most important textile manufacturers in the world for the luxury sector. which has always inspired its activity to the principles of corporate social responsibility and environmental, social and ethical sustainability. It is certified Seri.co, the trademark that ensures the quality and the health and safety requirements of Italian silk fabric; OEKO TEX® Class II for cotton, polyamide and polyester fabrics; and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) for its fine organic silk and silk-wool blended fabrics. GOTS is the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. In addition to verifying compliance with the organic production requirements of the entire textile supply chain (from crops to dyeing, weaving, printing, finishing, labeling and marketing of textile products), it asses along the entire production chain the respect of the requirements for environmental and social responsibility, in order to assure consumers that the clothes they wear are produced not only without the use of harmful chemicals, but also in ethically sustainable working condition. Clerici Tessuto has supplied 90% of the fabrics of this collection, all strictly complying with the EU legislation currently in force for the ecological requirements.
ISKO, word’s leading ingredient brand of innovative, certified and cutting-edge denim in terms of quality and technology, stands out for its commitment to developing an integrated field-to-fabric approach. Responsible innovation has always been in the DNA of ISKO and in all the denim fabrics that belong to the company with intellectual property patents: for example, the ISKO Reform™ stretch technology eliminates the need to frequently wash the jeans for shape retention reducing water and chemical detergents consumption during home laundry; ISKO POP™ eliminates the need for chemical softeners during the manufacturing of the garment, thus reducing the chemical consumption; and ISKO Cottonized™ employs regenerated cellulosic fibres such as Tencel® and Rayon to produce denim fabric. ISKO has been the main denim ingredient in the production of the garments of this collection, through the premium ISKO EARTH FIT™ collection that has been recognised with the prestigious Nordic Swan Ecolabel and EU Ecolabel certificates for environmental sustainability, as well as the Life Cycle Assessment on all the denim made of ISKO.
LAMPO-LANFRANCHI is a historic Italian company that produces zippers, on the market since 1887. The company has long been committed to a sustainability policy that focuses on all environmental, social and economic dimensions of the entire production process. The products are certified Oeko Tex Standard 100 class I, and the company has signed the Detox commitment with Greenpeace. Lanfranchi has kindly provided the maxi die-cast zippers: 60% of the nylon used to produce them is re-used for new productions.
RELIANZ AG operates in the commerce and distribution of packaging (bags and shopping bags in different materials, jute bags, paper bags and industrial big bags) with high standards of quality, transparency and environmental compatibility for a certified sustainable production. RELIANZ AG has kindly provided samples of food-grade packaging, namely Raschel nets for the packaging of citrus fruits, which have been embroidered and used within the collection as real tulle.
THERMORE was founded in 1972 in Milan and is a world leader in the research, production and marketing of thermal insulation for clothing. Thermore® Ecodown®, the padding used to in the collection’s denim garments, is made of 100% recycled fibres from PET bottles. This new technology makes it possible to recover an important quantity of bottles that would otherwise be dispersed in the environment. On average, a padded jacket with Ecodown® allows the reuse of about 10 bottles and also involves less impact on the planet’s energy
reserves. Thermore® Ecodown®, is the only alternative to down 100% sustainable, performing and versatile.
PINO GRASSO RICAMI, an historic Milanese artisanal embroidery company for the most important international luxury brands, has created the precious embroidery of this collection, all guided by environmental sustainability: from flowers made from recycled plastic bottles, and embellished with lead-free Swarovski Advance crystals, to the embroidery of the citrus fruit nets made from scrap embroidery materials.
Special thanks also go to ANIMA GROUP, to my press office GUITAR, and to FASHION MANAGEMENT SRL, which has manufactured the garments of this collection using GOTS certified yarns.
As for the event, my heartfelt thanks go to Aldo Coppola Agency who kindly provided us with hair and make-up. In particular:
Hair: PAOLO ROSSI @Aldo Coppola Agency using L’Oréal Professionnel
Make-up: CRISTIANA CECCARELLI @Aldo Coppola Agency
And to Gruppo Faby, which for the models’ manicure and pedicure used their green label “Faby Nature” with BIO-certified plant-based ingredients.
Last but not least, allow me a heartfelt thanks to the director of the Franco Parenti Theatre Andrée Ruth Shammah for granting me a dream location. The evocative Mosaic Room inside the Bagni Misteriosi ’s Palazzina, in fact, constitutes the perfect setting for the presentation of this collection: a place of extreme cleanliness and discipline, cold and conceptual like the hall of a Museum of Contemporary Art; and yet magical and surreal, in its succession of acquamarine doors illuminated by the diffused light coming from the overhanging skylight; and, moreover, a Milanese historical site, which Andrée wanted to restructure using original materials and elements recovered thanks to the scientific collaboration of the National Trust of Italy (FAI).