MILAN–The 22-year-old designer from Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, Claudio Cutugno is riding high from his recent win from the Camera Nazionale della Moda’s “Next Generation” award.
Well-versed in Ancient Greek literature and mythology, he is ready to transmit ancient Sicilian culture through his designs and put the island’s revered artisans on show.
“My last collection incorporated eel leather and a lot of embroidery. There are so many artisans in Sicily that nobody talks about,” he told BACO in an interview.
Fresh out of design school, he recently nailed an internship with cutting-edge designer Andrea Pompilo.
Aside from his work with Pompilio, Cutugno produced his own collection for the Next Generation competition. Awash in midnight black, the array was thick with references to funerary traditions, typical of the small towns that lie just outside of the port town Messina.
“When a woman’s husband dies in my town, the wife takes his clothes and readapts them to her own body,” he said, pointing to a puckered sleeve of a tailored wool jacket.
“My grandmother did this with my grandfather’s jackets in order to make it more feminine and not waste the extra fabric on the sleeve,” he said.
Intricate v-shaped beaded patterns mirrored the volcanic sand of the Aeolian Islands, while masks and feather appliqués were a salute to traditions linked to abandonment and loss.
For example: In ancient times, in Middle Asia, when the patriarch died, the rest of the family would mourn his memory by wearing flowers, he explained. Greek funerary masks crafted with gold were also a direct influence on the collection.
At such a young age, Cutugno demonstrates a great deal of promise and attention to detail and craftsmanship superior to some designers who have worked in fashion for decades. Driven by the perfect mix of island nostalgia and ambition, Cutugno will certainly be a name we will hear again and again.
A GALLERY OF CLAUDIO CUTUGNO’s SICILIA AND HIS DESIGNS: