European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Object Focus

EFHA Focus: Calugi e Giannelli, 1987-88

Italian fashionItalian stylemenswearpitti

A look from the autumn/winter collection presented at Pitti Uomo 31

The picture by photographer Carlo Cantini, captures two looks designed by the Italian duo Calugi e Giannelli for their a/w 1987-88 collection, that was presented in Florence during Pitti Uomo 31.

In the picture, a model in the foreground is walking, his right hand in the pocket, wearing a printed sweatshirt, trousers and a pointed beanie hat. In the background, another model seems to be performing, walking in the cold streets of a city landscape, wearing a sweatshirt printed with legs over letters and words. The attitude of the models transpires that of the Italian menswear design duo: ironic, strong and decisive.

The brand Calugi e Giannelli was founded in Florence by Mauro Calugi e Danilo Giannelli in 1982. As Richard Martin, fashion historian and curator, said, ‘Calugi e Giannelli has invented and reinvented clothing—menswear in particular—as if it were conceptual art’. Their take on menswear has been subversive, introducing element of sportswear as well of clerical dress in their collections, using fabric and body to explore new masculinities. Art has been a leit-motif, although they used clothes as a playground where to gather and experiment with the most various inspirations, from Pop Art, Mark Rothko and Piet Mondriaan, as well as tattoos and ecclesiastical hats. Although artistic in their conception, they were distant from art and crafts in their design, favouring a research in textile technology to update. While Danilo Giannelli unfortunately died in 1987, Mauro Calugi directed the brand and continued to design with the same spirit that characterised the duo, imbuing Italian menswear with an avant-gardist take that made the brand a quite unique voice in its landscape.