May 8, 2012
The New Versace
LuxeCrush called Fausto Puglisi a “Designer To Watch,” Now He’s the New Head of Fashion House Ungaro
By Nancy Staab
Milanese designer Fausto Puglisi brings Italian bravado to his collections and the most sartorially edgy celebs (Katie Perry, Beyonce, Niki Minaj, Madonna) are flocking to his high-voltage “Grecian Cheerleader” and other frocks that rock. His designs were also featured front and center at Madonna’s Super Bowl 2012 Half-Time Show. We haven’t seen this much Baroque decadence since Sun King Gianni Versace.
It doesn’t get more heady for a new-ish designer than to have your clothes featured in Super Bowl Half-Time Show starring Madonna, M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj. But that’s just what happened when M.I.A. and Minaj rocked the stage in fierce “gladiator cheerleader” leather frocks emblazoned with metal studs, lavish crystals and gold embellishments created by Fausto Puglisi.
AND THIS JUST IN: SEPT. 2012 FAUSTO PUGLISI WAS NAMED NEW CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF UNGARO FASHION HOUSE. HE WILL DEBUT HIS FIRST COLLECTION FOR EMANUEL UNGARO IN FEBRUARY.
It’s hard to imagine that the designer of such bold, sexy, color-charged and ornamental designs could have ever floundered in obscurity, but certainly the Super Bowl has raised Puglisi’s profile. And you might conjecture that these made-for-the-stage frocks with their elevated star wattage are obviously exaggerations of the designer’s more everyday looks…but you would be wrong.
Whether for stage or street, Puglisi very much works in the Gianni Versace trend of sartorial razzle dazzle. Puglisi may not like the comparison, but it’s an inevitable one and he, himself, acknowledges Versace as an inspiration. The comparisons do not end there. Like the late Gianni Versace, Puglisi is Italian born (Sicily) and Milan-based; has a flashy celeb following; trades in sexy, body-con get-ups with Baroque embellishments, favors a palette of tropical Southern Italian colors that also translate well in Miami; and references history and art in his almost costume-y-creations.
In describing the Super Bowl costumes he created Puglisi states, “The Roman Empire history and the emperor power is part of my DNA—I’m obsessed with Caligula and Caesar and Roman Traditions and I always loved to mix this with American sportswear touches.”
The 35-year-old has also plied his trade in L.A. and NYC, so the fusion of American sportswear with euro-flash is quite natural. Another of his fashion fans? The always cutting-edge Anna Della Russo, fashion director of Vogue Japan, who sported Puglisi's starburst biker leather jackets, gladiator minis and sultry, color-block halter gowns in acidic colors during the last season of fashion weeks. Puglisi’s exuberant, over-the-top designs may be slightly out of step with today’s recessionista, austere-chic atmosphere, but like a kid deprived of candy for too long, the consumer will soon crave exactly the kind of opulent, candy-brights that Puglisi is proffering.
For more info: www.faustopuglisi.com. The only U.S. store currently listed on Puglisi’s website is Coltorti in Miami Beach.
CLICK ON SLIDESHOW BELOW FOR MORE FAUSTO PUGLISI FASHION IMAGES