IN CONVERSATION WITH GIULIANO CALZA
Words by Anano Shalamberidze
“I HAVE TO BE IN CONSTANT ADAPTATION AND TRANSFORMATION” Designer and creative director Giuliano Calza graces the cover of "Metamorphosis" issue, talking everything from early influences to his approach to the industry. A creative genius behind GCDS’s unconventional designs gives us a glimpse into his personal metamorphosis.
He says it all started when he was five or six. His mom introduced him to the cartoonist who had designed DONALD DUCK and his dad took him to an ANDY WARHOL exhibition, both events being, as he would later remember, the earliest sources of his inspiration. Always having had a huge passion for art, once the idea of designing was ignited in him, GIULIANO CALZA embarked on a magical journey of creating, as he calls it, and has not stopped since.
Before the Naples-born designer started taking the fashion world by storm with his unconventional designs, he studied political science in Shanghai. He says GCDS’ journey really began in 2015, when after four years in China, he got kicked out of the country with a bag of logo socks and a suitcase of sweaters. He arrived in Milan and decided to do what he had always known was his destiny.
‘The good result of this late metamorphosis,’ he says, ‘was that I arrived in the world of fashion driven by business sense and a rage to create what I had inside without caring about rules, limits or results.’
GIULIANO’s first job in fashion was assisting stylists on set, going through sleepless nights of shoots, castings and rejections. He now feels grateful to have experienced the lows as well as the highs, as he believes it has all paid off. Indeed, GCDS has become a leading Italian fashion house, pushing at boundaries to traditional fashion practices and attracting worldwide audiences, all due to GIULIANO’s rich imagination and work ethic. ‘I like challenges and changes that tickle my fantasy,’ he explains. ‘I bring my values to the table; I trust my ideas and taste and that scares people.’
If there is one thing GIULIANO CALZA’s GCDS is known for, it is referencing pop culture. The designer recalls being fascinated with both American and Asian popular cultures. ‘I was living the best of both worlds and observing how the pop culture of a country is driven and influenced by different artistic waves and how everything is subjected to the local economic and sociological scenery. WARHOL’s 15 minutes of fame theory and GEORGE ORWELL’s 1984 are always in my mind when I look at pop culture as a medium to explore. The clips from BRITNEY with a boa at the VMAs, PARIS and NICOLE in Simple Life include some of my favorite pop moments. I can’t help but wonder though: now that everyone is famous in their own way, who shapes the pop culture & how can we make these moments last longer? When I was a kid, we had much less access to visual moments. Maybe I am creating my own favorite pop moments for the future such as: SOPHIA LOREN in a pasta campaign, PAMELA ANDERSEN in a horror short by NADIA LEE COHEN, BEYONCÉ in my Dracula suit or me as a Bratz animation for my interview.’
When asked to give a piece of advice to young designers, GIULIANO points to the importance of trusting yourself and your ideas: ‘If you are not there for you, it will be hard for anyone to trust you and join this difficult journey with you. Learn how to breathe 4-7-8, you’ll need it. Your relationship will change, people will leave you but you’ll remember who stays. Stay happy, cause your ideas will be your second home, your companion, a product and extension of your body outside your body… if it suffers, you won’t produce anything good.’
Numéro’s 7th issue is titled Metamorphosis: what does the word signify for you? What comes to mind when thinking of transformation, change, evolution?
‘I have to be in constant adaptation and transformation. Like the pupa that turns into a butterfly and flies over countries to find a home, I have to follow my journey. And as a souvenir of this migration… I was gifted a point of view. Discovering our colors sometimes is long and painful but it’s worth the journey.’
Is GCDS an extension of yourself or a foreign entity that is different from your inner world?
‘Yes definitely. I always say: “I’m just being and doing me while creating this world, and I couldn’t be happier to not be thinking of anyone or anything else.” GCDS is an extension of myself. I really love the past, but I’m obsessed with the future. Made in Italy but make it viral. in my world, craftsmanship and the future melt together.’
Concerning the next steps for himself and his brand, GIULIANO has decided to go with the flow. He says he’s thankful for everything that life has offered him until today; life never stops changing and for him, that is the best thing. He wishes to create things people will be obsessed with in the future. He’s not ready to be bored yet, and neither are we.
Photographer MATHIEU MAURY
Fashion GABRIELLA NORBERG
Hair JACOB KAJRUP at CALLISTE Make up CYRIL LAINE at SAINT GERMAIN AGENCY Set design ENZO SELBATICI
Photo assistant THÉPHILE PARAT
Fashion assistant REBECCA PERRIER
Post production SÉGOLÈNE BARRÉ
Digital operator NATASHA JOUFFREAU