What would it look like if all the drugs you took before the Met Ball really kicked in? What if, instead of those endless evening gowns, you began to see insects, fantasy creatures and mandalas leaping out at you in vivid, pulsating color around every corner of the museum? It’s this kind of psychedelic impression multimedia artist Maurizio Martusciello gives in The Suspended Gesture, (Il Gesto Sospeso), his installation with Mattia Casalegno based on the complex fabric compositions of couturier Roberto Capucci, which is being staged to inaugurate Altaroma couture week at Hadrian’s Temple in Rome.
For young Italian designers, Roberto Capucci, 79, is a kind of god. The couturier, who opened his house in 1950 at the age of just 21 and went on to create increasingly complex fabric sculptures for the next 30 years, has never let practicality stand in the way of design. Capucci’s mille feuille dresses have a life of their own. They are larger than life, and it takes a formidable personality to wear them. Capucci closed his house in Rome in 1980, but he continued to design and show annually, each time in a different city (Tokyo, Berlin, Venice), until 1996. Since then he has been lecturing and traveling.
It was quite a coup when Silvia Fendi, the new President of Rome’s Altaroma, enticed Capucci into opening his archives for a show. The choice of artist was key. Capucci and Martusciello have been friends since 2004 when the couturier’s “Fire” and “Ocean” pieces appeared in Martusciello’s “Invisible Bodies: Water and Fire” sound architecture performance in collaboration with the perfumer Lorenzo Villoresi. “Martusciello is an image and color composer and I immediately liked his work,” said Capucci. “For this show his compositions move and transform. The details of photos and films become a series of evocative objects, flowers and butterflies.”
“Capucci’s creative method has always been one of the strongest links between fashion and art,” says Fendi. “His work is a reference for the way I see Rome’s fashion future.” To create his pulsating Capucci creatures, Martusciello zeroed in on the details of three dresses for each of six videos projected onto transparent fabric screens suspended in a circle and set around a sandy lunar landscape. “We showed six here, but actually we have planned to do twelve,” says the artist who hopes to take this Roman fashion-art fantasy on the road.