Baroque street style and pop mythology

di Francesca Manuzzi

“Everything I do is driven by passion. I hate standardisation.” These are the words of Fausto Puglisi, the child prodigy of Italian fashion, whose formative years were marked by Mediterranean culture and Los Angeles mood.

Baroque street style and pop mythology
Fausto Puglisi

Born in Sicily in 1976, with hot Mediterranean blood pulsating through his veins, but with his eyes and mind open to the world, Fausto Puglisi has an intrinsic talent for marketing, effortlessly becoming the child prodigy of Italian fashion. He could almost be described as a new Gianni Versace, popular with buyers, fashion editors and end customers alike, as well as with stars from half of the world, from Beyoncé to Madonna, who was so taken with him that she dressed Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. in a Puglisi total look for her colossal performance at the 2012 Super Bowl. Fausto Puglisi, now on his third real collection, developed his stylistic background in Messina, New York and Los Angeles. He styles a woman who never abandons her brazen rock ways, but instead channels them into a new sensuality in the style of Bergodorf Goodman, recalling the delicately aggressive women of Helmut Newton. This oxymoron tells the story of his creativity line by line, featuring the Mediterranean and the cinema, with a Baroque aftertaste resulting from a blend of mythological decoration and street culture.

How do you work?

The creative act is like a crack of the whip. Everything I do is driven by passion. I don’t want to come across as rhetorical, but everything I do is driven by my heart and desires, with no half measures. I hate standardisation. For me, fashion is music and I don’t follow any real guidelines. Even when I design a collection, I always take a cinematographic approach; following a mood often becomes complicated. For me, Marie Antoinette lives in Ancient Rome, Versailles is in Sicily, Nicki Minaj is dating Emperor Caligula and Belle De Jour could be a film starring Cicciolina.

Describe the world inhabited by the Puglisi woman.

I have to identify her geographic, cultural and emotional context. I think of different times of day and night, considering her needs, friendships, the house she lives in or the hotel she is about to enter. I imagine whether she is blonde or brunette, how many lovers she has, and whether she is happy. And I generally choose a soundtrack. I like being the director, the screenwriter and the costume designer all at once. This is the only way I can create the finest of evening dresses, a simple T-shirt or a skirt.

What inspires your creativity?

I love my team. My right-hand woman, Masha Brigatti, or my assistant, are always with me. We fight, we oppose one another, and we reach a compromise. I also collect art books and photographs. My world is an orgy of images that often follow no particular logic. I am only interested in beauty. Not subtle beauty, but piercing and seductive beauty. A painting, a statue, a flower, a body, an animal, a film, a book. I love traditional fabrics, such as crepe, jersey and silk, as well as plenty of leather, which is very sexy. I know that I belong to the Mediterranean. I have its history in my veins, along with the sun and the drapery of ancient statues. I always ask myself whether the heroic deeds of Rome, Syracuse, Athens and Sparta, as seen through American cinema, can be conveyed through a piece of clothing. My clothes have to convey my sea and its strength.

Do you have a dream?

The dimensions of dreams and beauty are what I use to create. My own personal experience is a dreamlike narrative. I have always known what I would do, considering myself to be an emigrant sailor with his bag always packed. What I design is what I like to see, touch and shape. It can be frustrating, but first and foremost it has to stir my emotions and make me happy. People only buy what they desire. Desire can even lead to murder. I will carry on dreaming and those who live will see the results.