With a modern runway fashion film, GCDS Reveals its Spring/Summer 2022 Collection directed by Giuliano Calza

“Close to Positano, there are age-old myths of mermaids and underwater garden worlds. These fables from Southern Italy have influenced my imagination over the years — the Neapolitan sea is, no doubt, a place of endless inspiration. With this collection, I’m letting you dive into the dream with meand splicing it with a high fashion fantasy,” says Giuliano Calza, Creative Director of GCDS.

As Calza’s fashion journey continues to evolve, the designer has found himself on a proverbial island in the sun, shining with surreal brilliance far beyond the horizon. In this paradise, there’s an element of escapism, and the freedom one might find in getting away from the turmoil of the past eighteen months. Throughout this nautical frontier, Calza’s favorite fashion fixations have become the stylings of a water-world fairytale. They revel in both relaxation and hedonism; they’re a prologue to a bright new future. 

GCDS’s aquatic adventure starts with draped, rewashed deadstock denim, accentuated by straw hats and sparkling stone chains (the collection features hundreds of thousands of Preciosa crystals). A diaphanous and sexy visual element starts to come into play, while wave-motif blazers, swimwear and new Ibex clogs—made of recycled and compostable materials—follow the swell. Throughout the lineup, there’s a Made in Italy imprimatur of high-quality knitwear, including elongated (and sometimes beaded) tassels on blazers, sweaters and skirts, featherlight robes, crochet dresses, and labor intensive macramé vests. Embellished denim (springing in inspiration from GCDS’s original choker necklaces) and bedazzled jumpsuits only fuel the dream-state. The finale sees crystal-studded liquid body suits, which seem to imagine the gloss of a future mermaid’s skin. Nothing is overcomplicated or extra-elaborate, however; eclectic ease is central to GCDS’s summery sentiment. Also, worth noting: GCDS introduces its newest footwear designs this season, such as the above-mentioned slip-on clogs, the new everyday “Nami” sneaker and the street-strutting “Rider” pumps. The same goes for handbags: See the new “Matilda” small bags.

To present Spring/Summer 2022—the first collection shown since GCDS sold a majority stake position to the Made in Italy Fund—Calza conceived and directed a short fantasy film. After the success of the Fall/Winter 2021 digital catwalk (which amounted over 1.5 million views), this season marks step two in demonstrating Calza’s fantastical imagination. 

The film tracks the collection through the oft unusual monotony of day-to-day life, extending across a barren desert. It concludes, however, with the discovery of a new paradise. Against an imaginative aquarium, a symbol of this brave and bright new future, anthropomorphic crossover is possible and mythic beauty suddenly becomes real. 

“When it comes to creativity, I begin everything from a place of deep resonance,” says Calza. “I take these cues and emotions and power them by seeing optimism and brightness at the end of the tunnel. Living life is all about growth and getting through the tough parts, so, this collection and this film are a representation of that. Of hitting a point of liberty and ecstasy.”

This season, Calza sought to infuse his creative expression with an explosion of Spanish energy. The film was lensed in Spain, and such talents as Sita Abellan feature prominently. Others in the cast include Maggie Rawlins, Isabeli Fontana, Raya Martigny, Ceval Omar and Diego Villareal. There’s also a cameo by Nathy Peluso, the Barcelona-based singer and songwriter. The short was scored by the composer Katoo in partnership with Calza.

The GCDS Spring/Summer 2022 collection’s most notable collaboration is with One Piece, the Japanese animated series produced by Toei Animation in 1999 scheduled to debut its 1000th episode this fall. The iconic series is an adaptation from the eponymous manga created in 1997 by Eiichiro Oda. GCDS draws influence from One Piece’s under-the-sea drawings, with graphic motifs (including the fusion with GCDS’ own Bunny Girl character) appearing on bowling shirts, cargo sweats and jersey knits. One Piece’s “Jolly Roger” icon also finds itself in knitted form embellished by sparkling crystals.