Wednesday, 24 July 2013


If you were around to remember dabbling in fashion in the mid to late 80's you will remember that everything depended on your cocoon wrapped body.  A shawl collared embroidered and embellished jacket, a coat richly brocaded, a fuller shaped skirt in a burst of rich colour and most often with flat shoes.  For me, I recall seeing this richly layered silhouette for the first time and falling in love with it; in fact I think I can trace my absolute love of shawls, wraps, rich coats, capes and scarves back to these showings of asymmetrical, draped textiles enveloping the body with a supple easiness.

Drawing references from Orientalism, Bohemia, the Renaissance and exotic cultures, Romeo Gigli launched his first collection in 1983/84 to much acclaim, having sold it to fashion store Joyce in Hong Kong and Browns in London.  These shapes were oversized, draped and folded, and once placed on the body, they gave off a sense of regality, arty intellectualism and the poetic.

In an era where designers embraced individuality and creativity, where you could look at an outfit and place it with a certain designer's aesthetic (shoulder pads & mannish at Armani, sexy & vivacious at Versace) ; his soft shouldered and romantic silhouettes were captured for magazines through the lens of poet photographer Paolo Roversi and embraced by a large following of arty, fashion forward clients.

After leaving the fashion industry in the early 90's (disastrous business dealings with partners after which he found that he no  longer owned his 'name' or logo), Romeo retreated to work on freelance projects in Architecture and Interiors (which he initially studied).

Now, in what is 30years later (!) after his massive impact on the fashion silhouette, he joins forces with his early ally, Joyce Ma to develop the line, Joyce by Romeo Gigli.

I think the world is ready for some individualism, craftsmanship, colour and creativity don't you think?

1,2,3, 4 - Joyce by Romeo Gigli collection, phographed by Chen Ma
5, Romeo Gigli archive 1989, photo by Deborah Turbeville
6, Romeo Gigli A/w 1988, photo by Paolo Roversi
Via Glass Magazine

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