At the end of S/S 2012 fashion show at AltaRoma AltaModa in Rome, Giada Curti's twenty models paraded onto the catwalk in the luxurious Le Grand Hotel St. Regis. One held a silver plate with a silicon breast implant.
(Photograph courtesy of
Giadi Curti Haute Couture).
Curti's provocative statement was only the latest in a long list of statements made by the socially-conscious designer. Curti used her S/S 2012 collection, "Midnight in Rome," to take a stand against the faulty silicon breast implants manufactured by French company, Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP). PIP's implants contain industrial-grade silicon (versus the more costly medical-grade silicon), which are prone to rupturing, posing a health risk to the nearly half a million women worldwide that may have PIP breast implants.
"I believe fashion is a form of artwork through which I can express strong messages," Curti explains. "The safety of cosmetic surgery is becoming a real problem. Women don't need to be obsessed with surgery, especially if they sometimes risk their own lives by falling into the wrong hands."
Moving away from the provocative necklines of past collections, Curti focused attention on the hips this season. This, she says, is to communicate that "women can be attractive with their whole body, notwithstanding a small bosom." Her long tulle and silk dresses and slit-pleated skirts emphasise the female silhouette and its curves.
Not only do Curti's designs speak to timely social issues, they also lend a hint of modernity to classic style. Inspired by the recent Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris, she replaces the mystical French atmosphere with the memory of the Roman, La Dolce Vita. Ivory is the main colour of her collection. Sheer silk dresses are embellished with ruffle flounces, chiffon, pearls, Swarovski crystals and floral details. The final result is evocative of Anita Ekberg's elegance in La Dolce Vita, but modernised by Curti's transparent, mermaid-shaped, lace dresses with exposed lingerie and sexy hand-embroidered culottes.
Curti spares no detail in overseeing the creation of her designs, from the initial drawings through to the manufacturing process. She often hand-sews parts of the clothes herself. Tailoring tradition is in her blood, and represents her past, present and future. Born in Frosinone, near Rome, Curti's roots in haute couture run back to her grandmother Eva, the owner of a popular Frosinone atelier in the '70s. Curti spent her childhood not with dolls but in her family showroom, learning how to select, cut and sew fabrics, and uncovering the secrets of the Italian tailoring. In 2002, she married Antonio Curti, heir to the Curti haute couture atelier in Pontecorvo. (Curti bridal dresses have enjoyed national fame for over fifty years.) Following their marriage, Curti began designing wedding dresses for the brand's overseas markets. Though many remained conventional white, she broke from tradition with stunning light green and pink lace creations, most of them made with 100% Italian silk.
She finally made her debut as an emerging designer in summer 2010 at AltaRoma AltaModa, where she presented her first official A/W 2010-2011 collection. Provocation became her signature a year later when she sent Italian actress Elisabetta Pellini down the catwalk wearing the "anti-stalking" dress from her S/S 2011 collection. "I believe a dress can tell a lot about a woman and her social distress," says Curti. "Stalking is turning into a bigger phenomenon, though it's still silent. I wanted to publicise out loud that there's a law protecting the victims of twisted relationships!"
|"612" Dress (Photograph courtesy of
Giadi Curti Haute Couture).
To inform against stalking, Curti shocked the audience and critics with an original tulle and silk, dove-gray dress. On its corset shone a hand-sewn number "612" in Swarovski crystals, recalling the article of the Italian Civil Code that condemns stalking. On the belt, she stitched a silk pocket containing an urticant spray for self-defence - a brave idea for which, last May, she was awarded the title of "Donna Eccellente Roma 2011" (Excellent Woman Rome 2011) by the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno.
Curti knows how to attract attention and is not afraid of it; her provocation is a way to keep people alert about global and social affairs. Her A/W 2011-2012 collection entitled, "Free to be Divine," was inspired by last summer's exhibition in Rome by Polish artist and lesbian icon Tamara de Lempicka. At the same time she was impressed by the passage of the Marriage Equality Act on June 25, 2011 in New York state which allows the marriage of same sex partners. Curti made special wedding outfits for lesbian spouses, designing a lace veil and high-necked white silk dress with a breathtaking low back for the bride, and a black suit with a bow tie above a deep décolleté for the "groom."
Her audacious creations are conquering markets around the world, from Moscow to Miami to Rio de Janeiro. In April she is expected to take part in The Bride Show in Dubai. The international event is organised by the Wedding Industry of the United Arab Emirates to encourage Made in Italy fashion overseas.
No word, however, on what to expect for her next A/W 2012-2013 collection. "Who knows, maybe new thrilling ideas are just around the corner in one of my trips with my husband and three kids. There's no time to stop because the future belongs to those who have secret wishes!"
Giada Curti Haute Couture atelier:
Via Pasquale del Prete 10/16 Pontecorvo (Frosinone)
Ph. 0039- 0776761733
Piazza di Spagna, Rampa Mignanelli 12 (Rome)
Ph. 0039 0669797794
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