Roberto Capucci ~ Art Into Fashion

"Creation is a sensory experience" 


Roberto Capucci is the most imaginative, timeless, iconic designer that no one has ever heard of.  He is a revered fashion visionary.  Called "the Givency of Rome" or "lite Balenciaga", many contemporary designers have taken inspiration from Mr. Capucci's  innovative designs.  Christian Dior praised Roberto's work, and the 1955 collection was considered as important as Dior's "New Look" of 1947.

This dress was inspired by the concentric circles the water makes when a stone is thrown into it.


He is known for his love of intricate origami like shapes, inventive use of pleating, ruffles, structured ribbons, and rosettes and unusual elements he would sometimes add like pebbles or straw.  

The dress below was inspired by peeling back the skin of an orange


Roberto refers to his work as a study in structure and form; much more like works of art than clothing to be worn.  In fact, Roberto was not really concerned with commercial success, obviously.
Roberto's fabric of choice was silk shantung, silk satin and silk taffeta.

This dress was inspired by a crack in the sidewalk



A trip to India captivated Roberto.  He would return many times.   The riotous color influenced  him throughout his career.   From his travels to Asia, he began experimenting with the tight pleats, either softly flowing or tightly manipulated.



The interpretation of this dress is like fire raising up  



I think you can see what inspired him here.  Nature was another important theme running through his collections.  Roberto shied away from recognition and publicity.  It's a shame his artistic vision was not realized for so long by so many.  Many successful designers referenced Roberto's work as inspiration for their own.  Ralph Rucci, Issey Miyake and perhaps Mary McFadden.




This baroque angel of gold pleated dress is his vision of an angel ascending to heaven.  Roberto saw the joy in living and wanted to imbue that in his work.



Roberto did a revolutionary box shaped collection which really started it all.  The outfits had 2 side seams and were stiffened and squared away from the body, but the waist was accentuated.



He designed an op art collection like his contemporaries, Rudi Gernreich and YSL.  He often incorporated interesting materials like straw, pebbles, and feathers, among other things.



A respect for traditional couture craftsmanship, a timelessness, and a Doric column inspired this satin number.



 "Pure art is not meant to be worn".   In 1980 he began showing 1 collection a year in 1 city per year.  Fashion was made richer by this maverick talent.




photos: Claudia Primangell, Phila. Museum of Art

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