Fausto Puglisi: Are You Taking Notice?

Vogue Japan’s ever-quirky editor-at-large Anna Dello Russo rocks this fabulous Fausto Puglisi mini in a shoot by the designer. Image FAUSTO PUGLISI

If you’re like me and get Facebook updates from your favourite magazines, you may have started Monday off by staring at a photograph of Kendall Jenner baring almost all in a Fausto Puglisi gown at the 2014 MuchMusic Video Awards.

Model Kendall Jenner (left) in Fausto Puglisi at the 2014 MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto, the gown as shown in the Fausto Puglisi F/w 2013 lookbook. Image GETTY/FAUSTO PUGLISI

Looking beyond the waist-skimming slits, you have to admit that it is a beautiful dress… and that Kendall Jenner pulls it off. Look at the details: the colour combination is beautiful- it’s underside is lined in bright lavender, the beading is gorgeous, and the cut is sharp. With lower slits (or at least taped a little more closely together), it would be an overall flattering look on any woman with the figure and height a gown like this demands. With that being said, the dress is probably best suited for use in editorials and, as in this case- a red carpet look (can’t you just see someone like Izzy Azelia or Rihanna wearing this?).

Paired with beautiful shoes and clutch, good hair and red carpet ready makeup, Kendal’s look gets a solid A on my fashion rating.

A full view Kendall Jenner in Fausto Puglisi (left) and close-ups on the details of the gown. Image WIREIMAGE/GETTY

But this post isn’t meant to be an appreciation of a starlet’s red carpet look, its an appreciation of one of the fashion world’s rising stars- Fausto Puglisi, the talented designer behind Kendall Jenner’s headline making gown.

Ling Ling Kong and Gao Ying in F/w 2013 Fausto Puglisi, by Chen Man for Madame Figaro September 2012. Image MADAME FIGARO/CHEN MAN

Fusto Puglisi was born and raised in Messina, Sicily. From a young age, he had a great interest in the creative arts and fashion, but particularly in photography.

This passion led him to eventually relocate to New York, where he began creating and photographing garments that appealed to his love of imagery and his appreciation for precise tailoring. His work was soon noticed by influential stylists and photographers, who began to use Puglisi’s work in editorial spreads, where his work quickly garnered critical acclaim.

Katja Krivorota in a F/w 2013 Fausto Puglisi beaded jacket, by Enrique Badulescu for Marie Claire US May 2014. Image MARIE CLAIRE/ENRIQUE BADULESCU

Puglisi soon began producing limited collections for exclusive stores in New York and Los Angeles. These collections gained widespread praise and attracted the attention of fashionistas, stylists, editors and fashion bloggers.

In 2010 Puglisi became involved in Demenico Dolce and Stefano Gabanna’s Spiga 2 project, an undertaking that resulted in his line being displayed in the pair’s Milano concept store. From this, the Fausto Puglisi brand was born.

Aymeline Valade in S/s 2013 Fausto Puglisi, by Miguel Reveriego for Vogue Spain May 2013. Image VOGUE SPAIN/MIGUEL REVERIEGO

The Fausto Puglisi brand quickly gained a huge following from fashion’s elite: brand faithfuls included choice individuals like editor Anna Dello Russo, models Coco Rocha, Chanel Iman and Karolina Kurkova, and celebrities such as Fergie, Katy Perry and Kelly Rowland. His fame grew quickly and Puglisi was contracted to design stage costumes for entertainment icons like Beyoncé, Whitney Houston and Jennifer Lopez for their tours and performances. His most famous work came in 2012 when he created the looks for the Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and Madonna Superbowl Halftime Show. Much like Raf Simons’ menswear collections, Puglisi continues to develop a loyal following of buyers and admirers among the world’s fashion conscious.

Nicki Minaj (left), Madonna and M.I.A. perform in costumes by Fausto Puglisi during the Superbowl Half Time Show in 2012. Image GETTY

In 2012 Fausto Puglisi was appointed artistic director of the Maison Emmanuel Ungaro. This move was an attempt to refresh and stabilize the brand after a particularly unsteady and economically disappointing period during which a slew of designers took creative control of the brand’s image and basically, created a mess. Ungaro’s controlling owner, Italian clothing manufacturer Aeffe, hoped that Puglisi’s talent and artistic vision would refresh the public’s views of the brand, boosting its image and sales.

In October 2013, Fausto Puglisi’s first collection for Emmanuel Ungaro debuted in Milan to widespread acclaim.

Looks from the runway show of the Emanuel Ungaro F/w 2013 Collection, this was the first collection that Fausto Puglisi designed for Maision Ungaro. Image GETTY

It’s quite clear why Fausto Puglisi’s star has risen so fast in such a relatively short space of time: his clothing is beautiful! To me, his use of prints, his penchant for neon colour schemes and daring cutouts echo Gianni Versace’s work in the 1980s. His embellishments are reminiscent of the baroque trimmings of Dolce & Gabbana- reflecting his time spent with the duo developing his brand.

Coco Rocha in a Fausto Puglisi F/w 2013 gown, by Yin Chao for Harper’s Bazaar China September 2013. Image HARPER’S BAZAAR CHINA/YIN CHAO

It’s all very Italian- bold, colourful and thoroughly glamourous! You can see that he draws inspiration from his national heritage. He has cited that his interests are encouraged by the folklore, art and architecture of Italy, but it is also clear that Puglisi’s initial love of photography plays a big part in influencing his design, with his graphic prints and colours and his use of light-distorting fabrics and finishes.

Natasha Poly in Fausto Puglisi, by Inez & Vinoodh for Vogue Paris July 2014. Image VOGUE PARIS/ INEZ & VINOODH

A specific source of Puglisi’s design motivation stems from his fascination with the Roman Empire- particularly the uninhibited opulence and open sexual expression of the time. Puglisi describes this interest as more of an obsession, and is known to have stated that it inspires his aesthetic in every way, explaining, “For me, Rome means power, sex, decadence, delirium, skirts, pleats, peplums, embroidery… And these words always inspire my work.”

Miley Cyrus in S/s 2013 Fausto Puglisi, by Jan Welters for Elle UK June 2013. Image ELLE UK/JAN WELTERS

His clothing is certainly not for the faint of heart. Attention-grabbing prints and colours aside, other characteristics of his work include plunging necklines, thigh (and waist) -skimming slits, sharp cutouts and barely-there bandeaux tops. Puglisi is a designer whose work toes the very fine line between being daringly sexy and… shall we say tacky.

Hilary Rhoda in Fausto Puglisi S/s 2014 ready-to-wear, shot by Luigi and Daniele + Iango for Vogue Japan April 2014. Image VOGUE/ LUIGI AND DANIELE +IANGO

It’s a hard thing to do, and very few designers have the talent and the ability to produce clothing that’s that racy without being downright tasteless. So far, Puglisi has navigated this margin well, and I have serious doubts as to whether he could eventually push his work over the edge into this undesirable area. As I said, he knows how to toe the line.

But then again, fashion is all about pushing boundaries…. so we will have to wait and see (and pray he doesn’t cross that boundary because there are ENOUGH trashy clothes around).

Aiste-Regina Kliveckaite in Fausto Puglisi 2014 Resort, by Tony Kim for Glamour Italy May 2014. Image GLAMOUR MAGAZINE/TONY KIM

This Kendall Jenner red carpet look has sparked some serious interest in the direction of designer Fausto Puglisi, and I for one, love it- its glamourous, sexy and everything fierce!

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