The boy of Lily of the Valley: Giuseppe di Morabito
Giuseppe di Morabito was born in 1992 in a small town, Molochio, in Calabria, a region of Southern Italy. The colors, textures and shapes of his region still serve as integral sources of his creativity. In 2013 Giuseppe carried these influences and passions into the fashion world, attending Instituto Marangoni, Milan, for a program in Fashion Design. Here he gained far more than simply the skills to construct clothes. Milan offered him the urban inspiration that Calabria lacked, allowing him to heighten his own designs into a unique hybrid of country and city, ancient and modern. Giuseppe’s talent and passion allowed him to quickly move beyond the academic sphere. In 2014 his dream became true: the launch of his own brand Giuseppe Di Morabito. In 2015 he took part at WhoIsOnNext? Fashion talent a one of the finalist. His participation is well appreciated by the press, in particular New York Times wrote: ‘guests appeared enchanted by his collection of sheer gauzy blouses and tea dresses, painstakingly stitched in swirling Renaissance flora’s with a powdered pastel palette’. In 2016 he represents Italy in the womenswear category at the International Woolmark Prize. His collection/project inspired by a modern reinterpretation of Ovidio’s Metamorphosis amazed the panel of judges. During same year he presents his SS17 Collection during Milan Fashion week. In the same occasion the brand presents his collaboration with the Arrivabene Sisters’ (Viola and Vera) line of friulane-shoes VIBI Venezia.
When and how you decided that you wanted to be a designer?
I was a child when I was first introduced to the world of tailoring and fashion. My mother used to sew some garments, such as blouse and skirts for herself as a hobby. I was fascinated by her manual skills and the way she could design something that could become real. Yet, only once I started high school did I get to know about fashion in the broadest sense. I was thrilled by this world and understood that my dream was becoming part of it. Thus, I moved to Milan to study fashion design at Istituto Marangoni.
It was your dream job?
Yes, it was. Initially I couldn’t imagine something so exciting actually existed. Once I entered that world, immediately understood it was the right thing to pursue.
Which is the first thing you designed and for who?
It was a dress for a friend’s eighteenth birthday party.
Who’s the designer you admire the most and why?
I don’t have only one. It’s impossible for me to determine just one name specifically. I admire Gianfranco Ferrè for his design, shapes and sense of couture at Dior; I was one of Alexander McQueen fan because of his revolutionary ideas and eccentric stylistic coherence; I admire Giambattista Valli’s extreme elegance and new conception of the materials.
Who’s your muse, your icon, when you create a dress?
Actually, I would feel bad to give just one name here. There are different icons but I usually look for one on the base of what I am looking for in my collection. I could mention examples such as Peggy Guggenheim for her hedonistic sense of fashion, a smiling Sally Mann, Peggy Moffitt’s colorful and smart congeniality. These are some, different in style and coming from different epochs.
If you had to design an entire collection using just one color, which is the one you’d pick and why?
Light Pink. It reminds me of Southern Italian sunset. Moreover it gives me the idea of a pure feminine youth.
Who’s the first person you show your sketches to?
Usually it’s my modeler. Together we figure out the shapes of the piece I would like to realize. Together we try to give the model the same impact the initial designs on paper had.
The fabric you love the most…silk, lace, velvet and why?
Silk Duchesse. Although some might consider it a flat fabric, I believe it is anything but that. I like how it changes color depending on how lights cast on it. It reminds of ancient pictorial drapery.
If your clothes had a soundtrack, which songs you’d choose?
This collection was inspired by an artistic Caprice: a fantastic expression that doesn’t follow any rule or criteria. The word ‘bonkers’ and the quotation “The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters” stand out from the details of the garments while dictating the mood of the collection. Probably the soundtrack for the SS17 collection would be a mix of Dizzie Rascal’s ‘Bonkers’, one of Prince’s songs in which he emotionally gives his guitar strings a strum with a rhapsodic music theme by John Cage.
Do you have any trick to avoid that “blank page” moment when you’re at the beginning of the designing of a new collection? Do you watch a movie, flip an old magazine…
I usually don’t have a total blank page in front of me. I like to interpret these blank page moments as surfaces of possibilities. Usually I look back to my previous collections and I try to figure out what was wrong or incomplete. I look for what was missing in the set of pieces. Then I find a starting point. This could be a word in a song or a specific image I find while surfing on the internet. Usually, I look at visual art to find something that can trigger new ideas, the desire to create something new.
If you weren’t a designer which job in the fashion world you would like to do and why?
Probably I would have been a person in charge of fabric and materials. My work is very focused on the research of new wefts. I don’t satisfy myself by choosing basic or average fabrics. I like to push the boundaries, explore new possibilities in terms of embroideries or jacquard for example. I create my own textiles and graphics for each of printed fabrics.