When it comes to fashion, Italians are all about exuberance. Their style is often as elaborate and colorful as their culture—with hints of exoticism and sensuality. Think Dolce & Gabbana‘s sexy Sicilian sexbomb, Missoni’s bohemian baby, and Roberto Cavalli‘s Milanese party girl. Italian designers are not afraid to bring on as much bling, sparkle, and shine to their clothes. It’s what separates them from designers from Paris, London, and Milan, where the styles are often more refined and rigid. Although the likes of Versace and Pucci have been in the industry for decades, the young blood in Italian fashion is certainly following in their suit. Just take a look at Fausto Puglisi.
For a young brand and designer, Fausto Puglisi has won the hearts of many. His designs are as decorated and extravagant as his mentors, but more a more youthful spin. The common characteristics of Italian fashion—overt sexuality and unapologetic exuberance—are frequently found in his designs. They’re also often baroque, which is another quality of Italian fashion and art in general. Even when some of the most recognizable people in the world wear his designs, his Italian touch is very much evident. Many have even referred to him as the future of Italian fashion.
Chasing Dreams From Sicily to the US
Born in Sicily in 1976, Fausto Puglisi grew up in the country’s most famous island. He absorbed the exuberant culture of the region, eventually adopting its festive moods onto his designs. Even at a young age, he developed a love for fashion, caused by both the designers he looked up to and referred to as mentors and by the women who dress extravagantly on the streets of Sicily. At age 18, he moved to the United States in the hopes of making it big as a fashion designer. Whilst there, he worked as a waiter and other odd jobs while trying to put up his company. Things changed when he met Patti Wilson, an acclaimed stylist to Hollywood celebrities. She introduced him to her A-list clientele, and from there, his name started to spread among the fashion elite.
When stars of Tinsel Town started wearing his designs, Italian fashion design-duo Dolce & Gabbana took notice of Puglisi’s work. In 2010, Domenico Dolce took Puglisi under his wing, and the young designer was involved with the Spiga 2 Project, a concept store founded by Dolce & Gabbana to showcase the work of emerging Italian designers. Soon, Italian-based fashion buyers were selecting his designs, leading him to officially open his eponymous label. He eventually debuted in Milan Fashion Week in 2013, and soon became a highlight of the prestigious week of shows.
Fausto Puglisi is also notable for being an independent brand. Although he was helped by Dolce & Gabbana in the beginning, once he established himself as a real player in Milan fashion, he became his own boss. His control over his company goes beyond the creative side, and he overlooks everything—from the production to merchandising and marketing. With the help of his famous fans, he’s able to make his brand survive without any financial backing from outside entities. He refuses luxury groups to acquire any percentage of his brand’s shares if it means he will substantially lose control over them.
Style Targeted for the Young
Because of their mentorship of him, and the fact that they’re both Sicilian, many people have compared Fausto Puglisi’s work with Dolce & Gabbana’s. However, their styles, although both intrinsically Italian, are completely different. Fausto Puglisi’s style is very much rock and roll—the very reason pop stars and music icons have embraced his clothes. His clothes are young, rebellious, yet completely ornate and elaborate—a juxtaposition of youthful sensibilities and traditional design. His fan base is usually of the younger generation—party girls, social media influencer, and the like. He’s often used color, print, embellishments, and leather—sometimes all at the same time.
Reaching Hollywood Status
His success is credited to the A-list celebrities that have worn his designs. In fact, Domenico Dolce discovered Puglisi’s work when Madonna wore his clothes during her Super Bowl performance back in 2012. It was the grandest introduction and young designer ever got—having a music icon wear his looks on the grandest stage in American television. Soon after, fellow pop artists such as Whitney Houston and Jennifer Lopez also started wearing designs, both on the red carpet and when partying out at night. In Italy, fashion editor Anna Dello Russo became a known patron of his, constantly wearing his clothes when she sits on the front row during Fashion Week.
Fausto Puglisi is one of the young designers in Milan who chose to exercise true Italian fashion. His youthful and rock and roll take on the extravagance and opulence of Sicilian style has made him a revered name in the entire fashion industry. He’s also become a heavyweight among Hollywood’s elite, often worn by the most A-list of stars on the red carpet or simply on the street. Although both the designer and his label remain to be independent, there’s no question that they’ll only grow bigger than they are now.