With a collection that unfolded among the Baroque masterpieces of Giovanni Battista Cima and Lorenzo Lotto at Brera's Pinacoteca museum, Chinese-owned brand Giada confirmed its devotion to the arts. The Spring/Summer show, featuring architectural designs with innovative tailoring, celebrated the donation of writer Alessandro Manzoni's signed letters from the mid-19th century to the museum's library. Seemed fitting since Giada's creative director Gabriele Colangelo is an art buff at heart and a scholar of the classics. A native of Milan, he grew up in a family of luxury furriers and has made a name for himself with his signature label, his penchant for fine, innovative fabrics, and his ability to render his pieces works of modernist art.
Photo by Anna Palermo for NOWFASHION
"He has definitely matured and his designs have become more realistic. He has always had a curiosity and, of course, since he was a child, he was surrounded by color and textiles," commented his father Sergio after the show, waiting to give his son a congratulatory hug.
NOWFASHION chatted with Colangelo backstage about the collection marked by urban designs and delicate gold accents for a polished jetsetter.
SC: This seems like the right venue for you.
GC: Exactly, I mean for the connection between art and fashion that I usually have in my collection.
SC: How do you feel about the donation and Manzoni?
GC: It will be a donation to the library of the museum. There are two letters from one of the most important Italian writers, Alessandro Manzoni, and he wrote the "Promessi Sposi" (The Betrothed) and it’s a donation of the letters that he wrote to a friend of his and one of his sons. They are completely new because they were found recently. It's a very nice thing, especially this connection between art and culture.
SC: Were there any particular artists that influenced your collection?
GC: This collection is led by two photographers, Susan Weil and José Betancourt. The level of these pictures is really beautiful, because they mix different layers on the pictures and they’re almost about botanical elements and part of the body. It’s very poetic, this collection to me, this poetic accent.
SC: You use a lot of layering and innovative pleating and laser cutting. What about the colors?
GC: The color palette is very soft, so light grays and light yellow and milk mint and a touch of paprika to give a pop. And there is a lot of work, especially on the accessories. No embellishment – in line with the DNA of Giada, but of course these subtle design accessories on the garments make them very special.
Photo by Anna Palermo for NOWFASHION
SC: You’re really key to promoting Giada’s name in Italy. Since Giada is now Chinese owned ... you’re this very cultured, artistic Italian face of the brand.
GC: The brand is Italian; the owners are Chinese, but the brand was founded by Italian designers and it’s still Italian. The design team is all Italian, fabric and manufacturing is Italian.
SC: Do you think that your artistic vision and your influences really resonate among your key markets, which are in Asia?
GC: I think so. We are having a very good success, especially in the three years that I’ve been here, already. And people are appreciating the new direction. I mean, I didn’t change and I didn’t want to do a revolution in Giada. I just took the heritage and translated it in a modern way, giving an update to the style.
SC: You seem very comfortable with this line.
GC: I mean, we have a lot of syntonic elements between us; the aesthetic is very clean and sharp. It's more timeless than my collection and it has to be different, of course. But we have many elements in common in the aesthetic, so I’m very comfortable.