Capucci, Come Again?

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Capucci, 1957

Last week Stefania Seoni posted on A Shaded View On Fashion that Capucci has been relaunched, directed by architect Giancarlo Fenizia. Pictures of the fall 2009 collection modeled by Erin O’Connor are on the blog.

Roberto Capucci began his house in 1950 after studying sculpture at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Rome. Pre-Armani/Versace, he was at the vanguard of Italian fashion and one of the country’s first designers to receive international acclaim at a time when Paris was still hesitant to cede any credit to Rome as a fashion force.* Capucci demonstrated a creative vision rivaling the grandeur and modernism of Balenciaga and later his mentees, Givenchy and Ungaro.**

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Capucci, 1962

While his clothes, especially in the 60’s, were in sync with the structured designs of Balenciaga (his later work especially), Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne, Capucci’s aesthetic took more from the Italian Futurists than mid-century design. His flair for color, dynamic shapes, and an aggressive whimsy would have been welcomed by the avant-guard artists who in fact had their own doctrine on dress and fashion; reflecting their ideals on painting and not dissimilar from Capucci’s more daring creations.

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Capucci, 1980

Since the 80’s Capucci’s name has become reclusive and almost unknown. In 2003 the company invited Bernhard Willhelm to design a RTW line for the label interpreting Capucci’s aesthetic for the current times. The result of their collaboration were some of Willhelm’s strongest designs in his career though sadly the project seems to have ended. Willhelm ingeniously distilled the energy and humor of Capucci’s work into a look that melded perfectly with casual and street fashion. Eschewing the brand’s couture history, Willhelm’s version was decidedly more populist than what had been created before.

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above: Capucci Spring 2004 by Bernhard Willhelm

It will be interesting to see where the company goes forward and how it attempts to make itself relevant in the most trying of times. Press for the relaunch has been little to none, a show that the company is intending to keep the production small and exclusive.

* Coco Chanel only spoke of Elsa Schiaparelli as “That Italian that makes clothes”. Pierre Berge once remarked upon hearing that Italian designers were part of fashion’s future “Italians don’t make clothes, they make Spaghetti!.”

** Capucci was often called “The Givenchy of Italy” while his bright colors and flair evoked a similar Latin vibe to Ungaro.

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2 responses to “Capucci, Come Again?

  1. Pingback: NUEVE MUSAS

  2. Pingback: Ausstellung: 50 ± anni di moda italiana | Tschilp

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