Meet The ‘Non-Conformist’ Designer Roberto Capucci

The fashion world brings many eminent designers, who go through the same strenuous process of discovering something new about their work . The most intensive ones, may give birth to unexpected and innovative designs. But in the world of fast fashion, how are unique ideas born? I was looking for a Fashion figure that could exemplify how a quaint vision can be implemented and enrich the conventional perception of fashion. And then I found someone – Roberto Capucci.

Born in 1930, he grew up in Rome, allegedly influenced by the city’s exceptional ambience. From the beginning of his career his main characteristic was artistic maturity, as he was always faithful to his ideas. Consistence is praiseworthy, considering he started at the early age of 20, having just finished working for a designer,named Emilio Schuberth. Capucci’s first designs were  inspired by the elegant period of the 50’s. And though trends came and went, he stayed focused on his major inspiration – Architecture.

Grasping  the frame of the human body and adapting clothes to its shape is not an easy task. But the vision of Capucci adopted simple solutions. The architectural motives were supposed to be the basis of the design. The designer skilfully made use of the geometric forms. His dresses consisted of many layers and textures, bearing a bold resemblance to particular shapes. A wide array of colours he used was a symbol of his attraction to nature. It came to pass that he resigned from colours to concentrate just on the shape of the dress and precious materials. That was how the classic, calm dresses were born. And although his designs were accused of being too futuristic, he kept combining all these elements  and managed to avoid conspicuousness.

The strength of his concept and perfect craft brought him the praise of Christian Dior and comparisons to Balenciaga. The developing career let him open his first haute couture boutique in Paris and a new atelier in Rome. Capucci remained uncompromising and he accentuated that during his shows. They were supposed to move the audience and attract the entire attention of the viewer, thus models crossed the catwalk in complete silence. No music or visual tricks. This was a courageous move, which could be perceived as too avant-garde, but conversely, it became the most distinctive feature of his shows.

To highlight the uniqueness of every design and escape from widespread commercialism, he refused to sew two identical dresses. But  the 80’s era and the increasing popularity of ready-to-wear collections forced him to withdraw from the fashion industry. Probably the reason was not lack of space for his artistic vision, but the non-conformism he represented. If one is lucky, his work can be seen at occasional exhibitions, like one at Odescalchi Castle, Italy held in 2009 or Philadelphia Museum of Art which took place last year and that proves the basic idea of Capucci. Fashion should be contemplated.

Currently, he designs dresses for smaller customers, who like the author, remain faithful to his creativity and concept.

 Written by Marta Knaś



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