At This Stage
The title of my new Fall Winter 2021-22 capsule collection has a double meaning. The first one is obvious: “At This Stage” stands for “At this point”. It is a reflection on this very moment – where we are and where we want to go – in a period that has forced all of us to ponder and go back to the basics, to the essence. For this reason, I wanted to focus on my brand’s DNA, and rewrite my colourful and vibrant alphabet in the name of sustainability and a rediscovered femininity: a comfortable and playful collection that, without sacrificing elegance, reveals a sensual ease in assembling the various garments. I have always loved playing with contrasts, I find them interesting and vital, and above all, they reflect the contradictions of our existence. So, in this collection I wanted to clash sobriety with eccentricity, rigor with explosions of madness – a bit like the lives we are living in this period. I wanted to convey a melancholy romanticism towards what will no longer be, but also a feeling of rebellion and energy, of the desire to react and stride forward, towards a future free from all the constraints of the moment.
For this reason, in the garments of the collection, the nostalgia of volumes and the slightly “retro” elegance of the prints is revisited with an eccentric and contemporary style which has always distinguished my brand, in a positive and energetic dynamism and enthusiasm – all, of course, in the name of sustainability, which today, more than ever, is fundamental.
At a chromatic level, on the one hand we find the austerity of natural and soft colours such as the beige of the recycled and antibacterial eco-wool; the grey and the garnet in the upcycled fake-astrakhan garments; and the white, garnet and beige in the high-necked knit tops, as well as in the rigorous shirt-dress and trench coat, combined with ankle boots in natural tones, with uppers in recycled plastic; but on the other hand, there is no shortage of strong and vibrant colours that light up the dresses and jackets with reds, yellows, and multicolour prints.
Shape-wise, the extreme cleanliness and rigor of the lines are softened by hyper-feminine details: from the “V” necklines of the light dresses (either with bow, or handkerchief-style), to the flared bell-shaped skirts with deep side slits or raw-cut pleats, or in the sumptuous yellow eco-fur stole and in the elbow-length gloves in hand-knitted wool. Not to mention the numerous Asian-inspired details such as the upcyled vinyl kimono worn as a sportswear item, or the high obi belts that outline the waist. Similarly, soft and firm elements play with each other in unprecedented combinations in the Himalayan-inspired beige-toned eco-fur vest combined with trousers with military rigor.
Strongly featured in this collection are also the checked geometries: from the red checks of the wrap-around “plaid” maxi coat in ECO wool and of the saffron-yellow skirt, to the impalpable grid-printed dress on GOTS- certified chiffon crépon, to the vintage-style ’60 checked print for the dress with drawstring pockets, to the graphic elements of the dress and quilted skirt filled with Thermore eco-padding. And finally, the collection culminates in the “Pantone” dresses made with the so-called Atlases, ink-jet printing proof sheets created by printers to “set” the machines every time they need to test the color on a certain fabric, and then discarded. Thus, a print test becomes a decorative printed pattern, in a creative example of waste recovery in the name of circular fashion.
Here it is, in essence, the heart of this new collection: a “green” heart enclosed in the contrast between monochrome and multicolours, angular cuts and soft and warm materials, masculine austerity and desire for a more eccentric femininity, which I have also taken up in the make-up and hair, between red lips and tousled hair, in a representation of a human vulnerability that has surprised the whole world.
But, as I said at the beginning, the title of this collection, “At This Stage”, has also a second, more literal meaning. In fact, the video and photos of the collection were entirely shot inside the beautiful Franco Parenti Theatre in Milan, courtesy of Artistic Director Andrée Ruth Shammah. The choice of this location is a precise statement: theatres, cinemas, museums and places of culture have been closed for too long. We need them like air to breathe. With all the necessary security measures, we call on to reopen them as soon as possible!
The garments featured in this collection display an extensive range of sustainable techniques and materials such as: innovative carded wool double fabric exclusively made with MWool® Recycled; sustainable long-hair fabric exclusively made with MWool® Recycled; padding from 100% recycled pet bottles; GRS certified BembergTM from C.L.A.S.S. Smart Shop; reclaiming of fully traceable ReLiveTexTM Back in the Loop high quality Italian fabrics; viscose/cotton made with responsible FSC production and eco-friendly finishing, detox Green Peace committed; upcycling of existing fabrics from leftover stock/archive; Seaqual polyester entirely recycled from plastics recovered from the sea; NewlifeTM polyester 100% made in Italy, mechanically recycled from plastic bottles with traceable and transparent chain; 100% GOTS certified silk; hand-crafted knitwear in regenerated wool; eco-fur from stock archive. The “Pantone” looks are made from printing proof sheets – the so-called Atlases – generated by printers every time they need to set the color on a certain fabric, and soon after discarded. The shoes uppers, courtesy of Kallisté, are made from recycled plastic. Upcycled eyewear is a special project by Angelica Pagnelli, custom-made exclusively for Gilberto Calzolari, consisting in a brand-new restyling of vintage frames paired with high-tech, brand-new colored lenses.
Gilberto Calzolari is a high-end prêt-à-porter brand made in Italy with a “green” heart that believes that elegance and beauty must go hand in hand with respect for our planet. His style is represented by a glamorous and timeless design expressed in a refined silhouette of clean lines, exquisite details and unexpected combinations. Precious fabrics, complemented by the highest quality in production techniques and tailoring craftsmanship, bear the hallmarks of a brand with a strong identity and code of ethics in tune with the needs of contemporary living, where innovation and environmental sustainability meet the creativity and elegance for which Made in Italy is known around the world, against the prevailing practices of today’s fast fashion.
Gilberto Calzolari was born and raised in Milan, where he graduated at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. After an impressive career of 15+ years in the fashion industry working for some of the most prestigious international luxury brands such as Marni, Alberta Ferretti, Valentino, Miu Miu and Giorgio Armani, in 2015 Calzolari decided it was time to create his own high-end prêt-à-porter brand of sustainable fashion made in Italy, which bears his name.
For his contribution to sustainable fashion, Calzolari has won prestigious awards such as the Franca Sozzani Green Carpet Award as Best Emerging Designer in 2018, the Monte Carlo Fashion Award in 2019 and the C.L.A.S.S. Icon Award 2020, “awarded to a visionary creative who has managed to combine fashion and design with responsible innovation and communication, raising awareness to new sustainable values”.
His collections have been presented during the Milano Fashion Week, Showcase Altaroma, the Next Trend Event in Milan and Rome, the Budapest Central Europe Fashion Week, the Monte Carlo Fashion Week, Expo China, White Milano, White’s WSM Fashion Reboot, and the Qingdao International Fashion Industries Alliance Festival.