Reputable and world-renowned Italian fashion designer, Romeo Gigli, was in Hong Kong to celebrate and promote his first collection since his break from fashion in 2004, the JOYCE by Romeo Gigli collection for F/W 2012.
Having recently contributed some pieces from his archive for JOYCE, Romeo was keen to accept JOYCE's offer to do a collaboration as he believes there is more freedom for fashion in Asia.
JOYCE by Romeo Gigli presents pieces that are extremely wearable and adaptable. The women's collection is full of vibrant bursts of colour focused on elegant and intriguing silhouettes that highlight the feminine and graceful features of a woman's body.
The men's collection is just as colourful with simple trousers paired with elaborate tweed and flannel jackets, reversible coats and mohair vests specifically designed for the contemporary jetsetter.
Romeo Gigli talks to us about his incredible career, fashion in Asia and his future plans along with a few tips on style.
LifestyleAsia (LSA): What made you want to become a designer?
Romeo Gigli (RG): It's really difficult to explain as I had never thought about being a designer when I was young. My family have been valuable collectors and dealers for four generations so before fashion I had just been travelling all around the world for more than 10 years.
My style was very different, I would go to India to buy fabrics and then I would bring them to London to get my shirts cut by tailors. In 1977, I was asked by an Italian tailor working in New York, Pietro Dimitri, to add flavour to his men's collection. I went to New York and started to work with him and he suggested I do something for women as well.
At the time I used to help my girlfriends to dress up so I thought why not and started to do a few dresses for women. When we did the show, feedback from the New York press was so positive. So I figured I could do something in fashion but not before I learned everything I could about it. I studied about shapes, fabrics and techniques until I felt I was able and ready to do it.
LSA: What is the craziest thing you've done in your career?
RG: I remember, there was a show I did in which I incorporated elements of a circus show. So I said to the guys working with me that we needed to check out this beautiful antique circus so I could decide which pieces of the circus I wanted in my own show.
Four weeks before my own show, we went to the circus and suddenly one of them picked me, put me in the middle of the show and blindfolded me. Then they put me in front of a table, and started throwing knives at me. I was so scared! It was not until they took off my blindfold that I saw that they were throwing it next to me and not at me. My team had organised it as a prank -- they got me good.
LSA: What do you think about the way people dress in Asia compared to how they dress in the West?
RG: I've been thinking about this a lot recently. In Asia, you have a lot of freedom which I love. In Europe, in the west side, a lot of people have lost their style because they are trying too hard to follow brands.
Back in the sixties European woman were so elegant but in the last 10 years they've become obsessed with showing people how rich they are. It is a terrible approach. You have freedom and that is really nice, so please, please keep that!
LSA: What is your favourite piece from your collection with JOYCE?
RG: A piece that I like from my collection with JOYCE is this simple little cape. You will see that you can wear it any way you like. It is multi-dimensional, once you put it on you can shape it in different ways according to the shape you want to create with your body. That's what I like about fashion.
LSA: What do you think is a must-have piece for a girl and a guy in their wardrobe?
RG: A beautiful white shirt. A girl with a beautiful white shirt can go everywhere and have style. As for guys, a beautiful nice jacket that is well cut, perhaps blue, is perfect for all around the world.
LSA: Now that you're back, do you have plans for anything new in the future?
RG: I will probably stay involved in art. I mean, during the past eight years when I wasn't working in fashion, I was designing costumes for theatres and movies. I designed costumes for the last Merce Cunningham ballet in New York and also worked on a great exhibition in Florence about Chinese art from the Tang period.
I've been collecting pieces my entire life. It is my lifestyle, I like to work with art and design. But fashion is definitely in my blood, Ive been working in fashion for 25 years so it comes naturally to me.
I''m really happy because this collaboration with JOYCE has been amazing. They are so lovely and kind. It has been a complete pleasure working with them.
JOYCE by Romeo Gigli is now available for purchase online www.eshop.joyce.com as well as in-store at G/F, New World Tower, 16-18 Queen's Road Central, Central, +852 2810 1120.