Right before the opening of his exhibition at the Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, the great couturier Roberto Capucci reveals his thoughts about crafts professions, haute couture and research.
How did your love for fashion come to life?
From observing clothes and how the women of my family dressed – my mother, my sister, my aunts – from an innate propensity towards criticism and awe in the face of beauty and colour.
I have always designed clothes because I enjoyed it; my secondary studies at the Liceo Artistico and then at the Accademia di Belle Arti refined, developed and consummated my sense of drawing, colour and proportion. At the age of twenty, by chance I met a journalist, who saw my drawings and encouraged me to open a dressmaker’s shop.
How important was training in an atelier to you?
Fundamental, it was of crucial importance for the development of my work. I’m not a dressmaker, and I’ve never studied that art. My method is to start with a design, and thanks to what I have been able to ‘breathe in’ in the workshop environment, I’ve been able to conceive of a system from what I’ve been able to glean from dressmakers and specialised artisans.
Often advise young people on how important it is to create a good pret-a-porter product, because haut couture is a profession that is disappearing.
Your extraordinary creations require extraordinary mastery both in design and in execution. Who helps you in the phase of creation? Dressmakers, pattern makers, embroiderers…?
All of those who are concerned with the creation of a haute couture piece of clothing: dressmakers, embroiders and plissé experts, cutters, craftsmen. Designers do not help me, I design every piece of clothing by myself because it’s my passion – I enjoy it; I love it.
Are there young people who try to approach your team to learn your style directly “in the field”, or by collaborating in the creation of dresses?
The young people on my team are concerned with activating routes for young people; their work is dedicated to organizing the historical archive and putting it on line, to implementing the trademark of the Foundation through the organization of exhibits, to training through setting up specific, in-depth seminars on materials and techniques that are characteristic of our creative work. Since 2008, seminars on plissé, on colour and on the study of materials and forms, have already been organized in Florence – held at the Museo della Fondazione Roberto Capucci in Villa Bardini, and they have the purpose of training and encouraging young talents on the job market.
As far as the creative part is concerned, I work by myself and often advise young people on how important it is to create a good pret-a-porter product, because haut couture is a profession that is disappearing.
What do you think is the value of art professions (“mestiere d’arte”) as far as excellence in the world of Italian fashion is concerned?
A total, absolute value. The fashion creator must draw inspiration from beauty, the sublime, colour, architecture and dimension. Nature is my first source of inspiration, then comes the work of man the artist: the great painter, architect and musician. Whoever does not love, appreciate and look at nature ecstatically can only be half an artist. Nature gives us everything, but very often man does not admire her, nor does he understand her or follow her. Today, no one has time, nor do they think of setting aside space for nature, not to mention art or beauty.