Daniele Calcaterra – A capsule of Images and Corresponding Tastes By Gabriele Verratti
Not a collection but a capsule of images and corresponding tastes. Daniele Calcaterra’s project stems from his vocation for research and continues to develop as a result of the attention, curiosity and emotion he demonstrates, − all typical qualities of a connoisseur and cultured aesthete.
“I don’t follow trends. Rather, I keep track of how my points of view evolve.” He achieves a sort of lyricism mainly by creating dresses which are elegant in form and plastically alive. Indeed, more than alive his clothes are vital because they stem from a profound respect for women and their bodies. “I don’t like to revolutionize lines, I prefer listening to them and indulging them. That’s why every one of my creations takes shape on a mannequin, sometimes draping the fabrics directly onto the model. When I achieve a specific balance in image, I capture the moment with a photo. It is only then that I pick up a pencil and start to draw.”
It is a couturier-approach that is based on the meticulous selection of fabrics, and subject matter expertise.
“By working a papyrus fibre with silk, I made a very refined gazar with a moiré pattern. I was inspired by wallpaper.” My ideas and inspiration often come from home decor and tapestry. This is precisely the case with the jacquards that have been recuperated from the company’s special archives or, as has happened before, inspired by a second-hand chaise lounge. “As for fur coats, on the other hand, I always go to an important Roman supplier. I was able to pick up a fox fur coat from him in black that blends into blue with hues so intense that no chemical dye could possibly ever match.”
After all, it is actually through the experimental use of fabrics that this sense of discrete, yet identifiable modernity is conveyed.
“I always start with the past, with a traditional, noble fabric that is asking to be reutilized. It is a characteristic of my work.” So, classic cashmere for coats is paired with washed silks that have undergone a special sanforization process which doubles its volume. “The fabric’s initial thickness of a few millimetres reaches a thickness of a centimetre and a half. This results in a soft, comfortable cloud, very light despite its specific weight of almost one kilogram per metre. It is a magical feature that only fabrics from Biella can achieve.” And if the designs and accents reflect a superior notion of pureness, even colour choices convey a specific idea. “I am not keen on bold tones. I use delicate hues but not pastels; blacks and greys and natural shades as long as they are cold. I usually take inspiration from paint and makeup palettes, which forces me to stock up on eyeshadow and nail polish. I am also passionate about burgundy and all shades of green, as well as brown − from chocolate to licorice. Never too clean so as to avoid looking unsuited on the person wearing them. I like to imagine them as though filtered with fog. After all, I am Milanese.”
Currently, however, Daniele lives on the shores of Lake Garda. His studio is in Brescia.
“In a square that can be considered among the most beautiful in the city, surrounded by centuries-old trees. Every so often, I look at them, with those leaves that always seem the same but are actually renewed season after season; the same yet different. I think a designer’s mission should be that of expressing him or herself within the margins of this flexibility, with the intelligent comprehension of the times we are living. In fact, let me add that in fashion, being judged, put to the test, compared fiercely and authentically is a premise for longevity. For true creativity is only achieved through dialogue, without closure, and with profound humility.”
Photos by Tamu McPherson