Italian Chic Meets Designer Durban

A collection of collections – a showing that encompasses pieces from at least four different collections that are each inspired by different geographical places and cultures – is how Italian designer, Massimo Crivelli, will introduce himself to Durban fashionistas on Friday, September 21 at the Durban Exhibition Centre.

As the invited international designer for the Durban Fashion Fair which has been created by the eThekwini municipality to both grow and showcase local fashion design, Crivelli believes he needs an introduction that paints a more comprehensive picture of his work using broader brush strokes that reflect an overall design interpretation and creative signature.

Crivelli’s work has been described as sophisticated and elegant, blending art, design and fashion in a common dimension. His collections have been labeled sensitive and playful and have been credited with meshing modern luxury with freedom of emotions.

This is a perfect fit with the theme of this year’s Durban Fashion Fair – ‘Today’s Past is Tomorrow’s Future’. Crivelli’s collection will hit the local runway at 20h30, following three other shows featuring young and emerging designers as well as big names in South African fashion.

This Milan-based designer believes his whistle stop visit to Durban – he’ll be jetting out straight after the show – will be both inspirational and challenging. “I am really excited to be able to meet new people and make new friends in a part of the world where I’ve never been before.” The challenge, he believes, will be in presenting himself both as a designer and a brand/business to an audience that unfamiliar with his work and whose tastes he does not know.

Crivelli says although South Africa is a country that has fascinated him for some time, he has not visited due to time constraints. “South Africa is a new country with a new economy and a sense of future. I believe that that is what we need in Europe. We need to return to new things and new hope. South Africa has hope for the future.”

Crivelli was born in Varese in July 1965 and attended art and law school in Milan before getting his doctorate and becoming the art director at the family textiles business. His passion for textiles – design, exclusive prints, hand painting and embroideries – features prominently in his work today. In 1994, he began working on a freelance basis with international fashion designers. Ten years later, he opened his own fashion house in Milan.

The collections coming to Durban have been inspired by different geographical locations and cultures – Paris with the era of graphic design, Venice with the scent of a summer at the Lido, Africa with it’s warm wind of freedom and, as a special preview for Spring Summer 2013, the sophisticated atmosphere of the coasts of Normandy. But will his Durban visit impact on future collections? “Yes, I appreciate different realities. I always get new ideas and new sensations. I am sure I will bring back a new dimension for my designs. As a designer, this is what I do – open up to all cultures and capture these in a clever way.”

Crivelli’s short stay in Durban is due to a very busy schedule which includes one of Italy’s premier events, the Milan Fashion Week, in September, where he will show both haute couture and prêt a porter. He is also the official designer for the European Rowing championship 2012 which takes place in Varese between September 14 and 16. His polo shirts, pants, sweaters, and traditional socks from part of a total sportswear collection to be sold in top boutiques in Italy. “I have to be there for the launch,” he says.

Last, but definitely not least, he is in the throes of designing his first men’s wear collection which will be shown for the first time in Paris in January 2013.

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