A year of conflict and awareness, a battlefield where we heal our wounds, mend the scars of our planet, and create a new sustainable future.
The global strike on March 15, 2019, in which millions of individuals spontaneously poured into the streets of thousands of cities, all over the world, following the appeal of a courageous Swedish girl, marked the point of no return for a society that has decided to put a stop to the on-going abuse perpetrated against our planet, of which the recent wildfires in Brazil, Siberia, Spain, Greece, Africa and Indonesia are only the latest reminder. From here, a new conversation on eco-sustainable fashion must sprout, which does not hide the fractures of our society and the reality we are living, but rather exhibits them as scalps and weapons to undertake a battle where our future is at stake. Hence the idea of a nomadic and warrior woman, fierce in her gait in a post-technological desert: an amazon who did not lose her romantic trappings, but rather turned them into functional and symbolic paraphernalia for her purpose.
The silhouette moves between experimentation, graphism and a primitive minimalism in close contact with the bare earth, in which garments with a vague safari memory made of stretch cotton canvas, in beige-sand shades, alternate with military uniforms, enriched with multi-purpose pockets revisited in a glamorous key with precious jacquard camouflage fabrics, on which the military insignia are ornamental fluttering ribbons of raw cotton. Similarly, the 80s’ yellow and black tracksuit is transformed into a technical and functional combat uniform.
In this physical and metaphysical desert, made out of sand and industrial debris, emblematic garments – and yet opposed to each other – are, on one hand, the tribal dress in ecological “cork fabric”, obtained from very thin sheets of natural cork coupled with certified GOTS organic cotton, with fringes enriched with lead-free Swarovski crystals; and on the other hand the ultra high-tech garments made with the upcycling of burst airbags, born thanks to a partnership with Volvo Car Italia. But the dichotomy between technological and tribal is also evident in the belts: some in fabric, to wrap the figure in a profoundly feminine manner, others derived from the seat belts of dismantled cars.
Moreover, almost monastic pieces in their raw simplicity are furrowed by deep side and front slits, or by sensual V-shaped necklines; structured dresses in “nude” organza contrast with layered ethnic skirts with pleated black organza panels, while wide asymmetrical skirts flutter around the body like war banners.
The materials range from organic printed cotton twill to satin derived from recycled polyester, from the brand new biodegradable cotton canvas to the optical macramé lace that resembles pneumatic tyres: a clear reference to the largest tyre landfill in the world, in the Kuwait desert.
The color palette starts with sand and ecru tones and then suddenly lights up with red, in the pleated dress, and with neon yellow in the skirt with reflective inserts, as if to disseminate alarm signals, and then gives way to the glossy black of garments in raw-cut varnish and to the petroleum green of technical cotton; colours that represent the industrial pollution that contaminates the precious aquifers, pitch-black and steeped in oil slurries, up to the appearance of prints in the shape of oil spill on the light dresses in ruched organza.
A “militant” Spring / Summer collection, where, surprisingly, the natural element is almost completely absent, with the exception of the black and white graphics of palm trees, as reproduced on a faded postcard, almost an oasis in the desert, the mirage of a extinct world. After all, the collection deals flat-out with the current and threatening theme of the desertification of our planet.
As in all Gilberto Calzolari collections, there is no lack of cinematic references. In this case “Dune”, the science-fiction cult film from visionary director David Lynch, but also the post-atomic imagery of “Mad Max”: endless expanses of sand and debris in a steampunk scenario, a timely cautionary tale of a society which is victim of its own technological progress. Today more than ever we are aware that our planet is in danger: hopefully this newfound consciousness can show us the way to a better future.
Gilberto Calzolari is a luxury prêt-à-porter brand made in Italy with a “green” heart. His style is represented by the demi-couture dress: fresh, glamorous and romantic – an elegant and timeless design expressed in a refined silhouette of clean lines, exquisite retro 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 that is in tune with the needs of contemporary living and reclaims the values of environmental sustainability as well as elegance and excellence typical of luxury Made in Italy, against the prevailing tyranny of today’s fast fashion.
THE FASHION DESIGNER
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 decided it was time to create his own. His first collection, FW 2017-18, entitled “My Arctic Heart”, was an ode to nature and to a world on the verge of extinction and, for the occasion, he partnered with Polar Bears International, the world’s leading non-profit organisation dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat. That was followed by the SS 2018 collection “Exotica”, and the FW 2018-19, entitled “2046”, which was first introduced at the Showcase event during Altaroma and then presented in the official calendar of the Milano Fashion Week in February 2018, and in a special runway show event in Rome. The SS 2019 collection, entitled “Une Partie de Campagne”, earned him the prestigious Franca Sozzani GCC Award for Best Emerging designer at the Green Carpet Fashion Award Italia 2018, while the FW 2019-2020, entitled “Unnatural” premiered in an event show during the Milano Fashion Week and was also invited to the Monte Carlo Fashion Week, where Calzolari was awarded with the Monte Carlo Fashion Award for best Emerging Designer for his contribution to sustainable fashion.
First and foremost a special thanks goes to the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, the CNMI Fashion Trust, and to President Carlo Capasa, for the important support granted and for the constant commitment towards eco-sustainability.
Then, I’m pleased to name a number of companies that have embraced the principles of environmental sustainability, without which this collection would not have been possible:
CLERICI TESSUTO is one of the most important textile manufacturers in the world for the luxury sector. which has always inspired its activity to the principles of corporate social responsibility and environmental, social and ethical sustainability. It is certified Seri.co, the trademark that ensures the quality and the health and safety requirements of Italian silk fabric; OEKO TEX® Class II for cotton, polyamide and polyester fabrics; and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard, world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres) for its fine organic silk and silk-wool blended fabrics.
ITALIAN CONVERTER firmly believes that a successful business can be such only if it creates value for the community, and exercises strict control of its suppliers, ensuring that they are active in terms of social and environmental responsibility. All the company’s efforts, from the beginning of the production cycle, are constantly aimed at the realisation of safe products with reduced environmental impact. Moreover, thanks to the collaboration with Treedom, Italian Converter helps to give back to the Earth what it gives us every day: it has in fact planted 240 trees with a consequent reduction of -54,300 kg of CO2. Italian Converter has provided naturally performing fabrics from the E.C.O. KOSMOS cross-collection, 100% made in Italy: the E.C.O. AURORA natural cotton canvas and the E.C.O. SONICA STR polyester satin of the Recycled category.
TEXMODA TESSUTI, always sensitive to environmental issues, pursues the goals of sustainability by acting on several fronts in order to create an eco-sustainable fashion, making choices that reduce consumption and lower the environmental impact. Texmoda has supplied articles based on the principles of sustainability and internal traceability, without the use of harmful chemicals. The viscose used is FSC certified, coming from wood pulp derived from sustainable plantations, in compliance with environmental, social and economic standards aimed at preserving forests and local communities. The cage instead is a stock item at its second chance of life, in order to save energy and reduce consumption. In this respect, Texmoda is working on a small collection with stock items called “Second Life”.
VILLANI is a Tuscan family-run company that produces natural and ecological cork fabrics with modern systems, REACH certified and free from formaldehyde and azo-dyes. Respect for the environment and attention to the consumer are among the main objectives of the company, pursued through the use of natural products and absolutely non-toxic components. Villani supplied the cork fabric coupled with GOTS certified organic cotton.
VOLVO CARS is strongly committed worldwide to reduce the environmental impact of both its products and its operations. A commitment that was recognised by the United Nations and rewarded at the Plastics Recycling Awards Europe 2019, where Volvo Cars received official recognition for its efforts in the field of sustainability. By 2025 the company intends to: use recycled materials for at least 25% of the plastic parts of all the new Volvo cars; bring exclusively electric cars to make up 50% of its total global sales; zeroing the climate impact of its global production activities. In addition, Volvo Cars is actively working to reduce the use of plastic in all its operating offices, a process that already by the end of 2019 provides for the elimination of disposable plastic objects from all offices, canteens and events worldwide.
GIMAR is an important reality of made in Italy embroidery since the 70s. The sustainable commitment of GIMAR starts from the purchase of energy coming from a large percentage from renewable sources and extends to the purchase of the raw material: yarn and fabrics are dyed and finished exclusively in Italy, and strictly certified. GIMAR has provided the optical macramé that resembles pneumatic tyres.
MABO is one of the first Italian manufacturers of accessories in the European clothing market, and is actively engaged in eliminating all dangerous substances according to the standards defined by the GREENPEACE Detox Campaign. Mabo carefully plans waste management and processing, selects raw material suppliers based on corporate sustainability standards, and reduces water waste by using an industrial wastewater recycling process. Mabo supplied sustainable metal buttons, completely free of toxic substances.