He grew up admiring craftsmen working in his father’s workshop and made a few sketches every now and then. But always considered design as a hobby as he wanted to make a career in Greek and Latin literature. After applying for a degree in classical languages at a university, he decided to participate in a design contest organised by Italian National Chamber of Fashion. The winner was awarded a one-year design course and an internship. This internship at Versace Jeans Couture ended up becoming a four and a half years of work experience for Gabriele Colangelo. And here’s when he decided to take a turn in career towards fashion.
“A woman who is not enslaved by fashion but uses it to express herself. I think that this is the ultimate aim of fashion: transforming people, making them look beautiful and helping them to express their personality.”
Colangelo learned and experienced the process of a sketch becoming a final product and he was awestruck by it. It was beneficial to work in an Italian fashion house that had a heritage. He shifted his focus towards Versace Classic line in Milan and moved on to working with Roberto Cavalli’s Just Cavalli Donna collection after a few years. His resume also includes being Artistic Director of Amuleti J by Mariella Burani Fashion Group. In 2007, he knew the time had come to extend his family’s fur company to a fashion house. Colangelo launched his first capsule collection full of fur and embroidered garments. As the best quality fur garments were made in-house, Colangelo travelled to India to get the best quality embroidery for his first collection.
10 years later
It’s been a decade for Gabriele Colangelo label but the designer has not lost his love for Latin and Greek classics. One who knows Latin and Greek knows the roots of every word etymologically. Similarly, when Colangelo designs his collection, he begins with researching about cultural references of the chosen theme and strives to gain knowledge of every minute detail. This helps him to construct a collection that involves deep thought process to curate every combination of every fabric, colour and motif.
Colangelo had a history of showcasing collections that were purely Italian and artistic. The key elements in his past collections were straight fit silhouette made of clean cuts. The embellishments were laser-cut, embroidery, unfinished or undone looks and a notable amount of geometry.
There were lots of lines and stretched rectangle straps of fabrics going around the body in a colour palette, which was mostly neutral. These interwoven lines gave a lyrical vibe that looked plain but often had a complex story behind it according to Colangelo.
“I usually start with a vision – an artistic reference – and then I go to my suppliers and show them my idea.”
Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear at Milan Fashion Week
Instead of beginning with abstract ideas for Spring 2018 collection, Colangelo started with different fabric manipulation techniques. Combining different textures, hand pleating the fabrics, using Japanese shibori dyed fabrics, giving leather-like finishes to dyed fabrics, were some of the methods seen in the collection. The lines were clean and fluid.
One notable garment was half masculine and half feminine, literally. The half part of the garment was a dress and the other half was a pantsuit. It starkly made a statement but yet in a composed manner. The neutral colour palette was peppered with chalk yellow, powder blue and bright red.
The fabric manipulation was introduced in a way that nobody would miss noticing it. A plain white coat with elongated sleeves had a sudden wave-like panel of pleated fabric, forced the eye to focus on the detail.
Such was the approach of the minimalistic and complex designer. How do you feel about the Gabriele Colangelo’s conceptual yet very practical collection?
Text: Pinanki Shah
Images: Vogue, Instagram, Gabriele Colangelo, Dazed