“I had a trip in Japan three months ago and I came back with a lot of information,” said designer Gabriele Colangelo as he pointed to his mood board which features photos he took on his travels abroad. He might have had many ideas swimming in his mind when he set to work on this collection, but out on the catwalk the results were of a Zen like serenity.
The look of Raku, the Japanese ceramics that have a distinctive corrosive beauty to them, were the foundation of the show. As Colangelo is building a real name for himself for his love of textile experimentation, the challenge of trying to recreate this particular style of porcelain in fabric form was the perfect avenue for the promising young designer.
Using extremely simple shapes based on Kimono jackets and the folded fabrics of hakama, the traditional samurai pants, the designer was able to echo the naturalist lines of the ceramics in shaved laser cut mink. Jacquard fabrics also had an important roll to play in getting this idea of the veiny appearance of Raku onto a garment. Using a mix of rough tussah threads with glossy white silk yarn, Colangelo produced an elegant undulating and luminescent effect on his ensembles.
But it is worth noting that in a collection filled with beautifully inventive fabrics, that it was some of the quieter pieces that showed the designer is more then just a textural textile junky. His all black exit number 32 at first looked like a maxi dress, but when the model moved it showed itself to be an expertly cut wide-legged jumpsuit.
“Usually I go to an exhibition to be inspired but this time I was in a different country, so I feel very emotionally linked to it, like I am in a different culture in my mind,” reveled the designer. If this is what he can do when he gets out into the world, then Colangelo needs to travel more often.