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LVMH Prize Finalist: Gabriele Colangelo

Architectural, clean shapes combined with experimental, high-end fabrics are the trademark of the designer's collections.

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Fashion is a question of method, according to Gabriele Colangelo. “I studied ancient literature, Latin and Greek, and I have a humanistic background which strongly influences my working method,” said the designer, seated in his new showroom on Milan’s Viale Premuda. “I focus on subtraction, I try to reaffirm a certain idea of purity.”

Architectural, clean shapes combined with experimental, high-end fabrics are the trademark of his collections. Son of a fur artisan (his father, Sergio, manufactures the Colangelo’s fur pieces), the designer cut his teeth at several Italian brands including Versace, Just Cavalli and at Mariella Burani Group prior to launching his own label in February 2008.

“My first collection was a kind of experiment,” said Colangelo. “I was in India for 15 days visiting a friend who has an embroidery company and before leaving I had left my father the sketches of a few fur pieces to cut. When I came back from my trip, I just matched the embroideries with the samples. A few days later, I was presenting off-calendar at Milan Fashion Week.” In June of that year, Colangelo won Vogue Italia and Alta Roma’s Who Is On Next? talent contest.

Although he became a fast hit with press, Colangelo stressed the difficulties of creating a solid business network. “I started my own business at the same time as the financial crisis hit and this didn’t help the commercial affirmation of a brand like mine, which is based on deep research and has an individual aesthetic,” Colangelo said.

His clothes retail at a range of stores worldwide, including No.30 in Milan, Koon in Seoul, Secret Location in Vancouver and Emporium in Bangkok. He’s planning to launch bags for spring 2015.

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