Five minutes with: Fausto Puglisi

4 min read

The designer speaks about the new modest collection, women in the Middle East and why he’d choose to wear Emirati traditional clothing for an entire month…

Fausto Puglisi is a force to be reckoned with. Paving the way towards fashion’s elite crowd throughout the noughties era, the Italian designer has exceptionally proved that he’s here to stay with continuous collection releases that boast his strong personality.

Most recently, the Sicilian-born creative jet-setted to Dubai to launch a capsule collection that eventually catapulted him into the spotlight even further.

Collaborating with Marina Rinaldi (an Italian label known for their inclusive offerings) on a collection that made its debut during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week last year, Puglisi sat down with MOJEH, alongside the collection’s face, Ashley Graham, for an exclusive chat following the duo’s second launch.

Ashley Graham

Fashion designer Fausto Puglisi (in his own clothes) poses with Ashley Graham wearing Marina Rinaldi by Fausto Puglisi. Possession bracelet and ring, Piaget. Serpenti watch, Bvlgari.

Here, the designer speaks about the new modest collection, women in the Middle East and why he’d choose to wear Emirati traditional clothing for an entire month…

Congratulations on the launch of your new collection for Marina Rinaldi. What do the pieces celebrate?

My capsule collection for Marina Rinaldi celebrates two icons, Elton John meets Liv Tyler, in Dubai. When I think about the traditional fashion here in the Middle East, I think about Italian couture from the ‘60s. I say Liv Tyler and Elton John because of the feathers. I use feathers in pastel colours that remind me of [being] backstage of an Elton John concert in the 70’s in London, and Liv Tyler because she was the hyper-glamour beauty, feminine Hollywood love.

What are some of the key elements of the collection?

Bold colours, print feathers, gold and sparkle.

And your favourite piece from the collection is…

The green kimono. I love when women style it in a cool way with vintage jeans and a tee. You can make it cool and street.

Speaking of style, what is your number one rule when it comes to style?

Be yourself. In Paris for Couture Fashion Week, Chiara Ferragni wore my dress, and it was a scandal because it was completely open. But it was a love/hate [reaction] when people were talking about it. It was a big social media moment. What I like and what I do all the time – I started with Jennifer Lopez and Kendall Jenner – every time I do something, it becomes a talking point.

How about style in the Middle East?

The women are very sophisticated – I love it. I love their approach to beauty and makeup. They are very experimental.

On being very experimental, why did you agree to design for Marina Rinaldi?

They called me when I was at the airport on my way to Miami and I was thinking not to do it, but I said let me think about it. Ocean Drive in Miami symbolises freedom and I like curvy girls wearing things that don’t cover their shape. If you are beautiful, you are beautiful. A lot of plus size ranges cover women up, but why not wear a dress with a slit? Ashley Graham and I worked together in Moscow and she wore a dress with a slit and [it] was so elegant at the same time. So, I said yes, if I’m free to do that, then I’m in.

Fausto Puglisi, Ashley Graham | Trestars

And designing for a curvy girl is no different…

It’s all about personality. It’s no different. When you design a dress, it’s all about the technicality you do with your tailors, [but] just make it bigger. It’s simple.

What does body positivity mean to you?

Body positivity means to own your body.

What does it mean to be a designer in 2019?

The difference of approach today is that you get more focused, you become prouder of your brand. I have my own brand, it’s my name, I own it 100%. It’s mine. It’s [also] difficult because there is a lot of competition but the world out there – I don’t know how ready it is to get all this information and change. So my position is that I stay really focused on my family, which is my work and my kids.

What is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is life. I like freedom. In Dubai, you see big religious influences and that fascinates me. I like freedom of expression, and on the other hand, I like respect the rules. If you respect the rules, you can break them. I respect everything that is connected with tradition.

If you could wear just one outfit for an entire month, what would it be?

It would be the Kandora – the Emirati local dress. I’m not saying that because I’m in Dubai. It’s just so comfortable. I feel free.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Enthusiastic, curious, energetic, creative fascinated by opposites.