Interview: Massimo Crivelli
Luca Curci talks with Massimo Crivelli during FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES, second appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Massimo Crivelli was born in 1965 in Varese in a family with ancient Milanese traditions. During his high school years, Massimo Crivelli worked in the family business, where he could grow his love for fabrics, their production processes and their most innovative applications. After studying art and a degree in law, his passion for design and the visual arts brought him to the world of fashion where he began his career working for famous British and French designers. After a decade’s experience with an international nouvelle couture brand, the desire to devote himself to free stylistic research and the need to express his passion for design in an eclectic way, led him to create his own line. The first Massimo Crivelli collection was presented with spring 2007. The stylistic influences and cultural experiences matured by Massimo Crivelli became so clear in his collections, through new, instinctive elaboration. Massimo Crivelli research never follows beaten paths. In a short time Massimo Crivelli was able to give a clear and unmistakable sign of his style and his concepts of fashion. Massimo Crivelli’s collections are the result of a harmonic fusion of different inspirations: the combination of the designer’s artistic experiences, his unconscious and his cultural passions. Massimo Crivelli’s creations are the ideal ground to live surreal emotions in which everyday life is intertwined with the atmosphere of a ‘cult’ cinema. For Massimo Crivelli the research of materials it’s a fundamental of his work, it is itself a source of inspiration in an inseparable alchemy between idea and texture. This explains Massimo Crivelli’s love for Murano glass, an authentic leitmotif of his collections. Love for shapes and colors that refer to the most modern interpretations of glass art. For Massimo Crivelli, the proposal of elements with a strong texture impact is a personal aesthetic need rather than a stylistic experiment. The fabrics used in the Massimo Crivelli collections are, in most cases, the result of an in-house design that makes them unique and unrepeatable. Without true beginning or end, without angularity or breaks, the lines signed by Massimo Crivelli approach artistic modernism, made up of free chromatic hazards and fairy-tale designs.
Luca Curci – What’s your background?
Massimo Crivelli – My background is made of my passion for culture, history, costume and my continuous reading. I approached the world of fabrics at a very young age by working in my family business where I was involved in design and research. I graduated in law but at the same time I studied art which was my passion since childhood. I left Milano and I worked abroad in music until I got into fashion. This was an exciting time in which I worked with incredible world-class designers. I soon co-founded a modern couture brand together with a brilliant designer and architect. Years of maturity where I could work with the leading actors of fashion and world-famous artists. After a decade I felt it was time to create my own brand, where I could express my personal vision of style and my idea of fashion.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
MC – There is not a single experience but a blend of ingredients acquired in a lifetime. My work is influenced by all experiences of my life, especially by the most immediate and innocent suggestions that struck me during my childhood. My aesthetic sense, my ideal of style were born in that period and they still live in a dream dimension that has no age or era. Then there is all the rest… what I have seen and learned over the years spent around the world. Milano and its unique style attitude is in my DNA. London and its swing in my blood. Paris as my inspirational working place. Venice as my dream planet.
LC – What are you currently working on?
MC – I am working on Massimo Crivelli continuous evolution. Each year we have to create two haute couture collections and the next one to be presented will be the Spring 2021. On stage next January. Two prêt-à-porter collections called Massimo Crivelli Studio and one sport line that we present trough spotlights exits. The new ideas are floating all together in the air ready to lend in each season’s proposal. But the world has changed this year. The market has changed and the way to show our work has changed as well. In this new world is like starting again and we take the chance to reinvent ourselves.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
MC – My inspiration is in everything that gives me a real sensation of beauty. I love design in general, industrial or interior, architecture as well as every new form of expression. Modern and contemporary art of course are the main guideline of my research. Strange to say but I never look at fashion or costumes when I think of my collections. I have made collections starting from sport cars lines. I have designed clothes inspired by buildings or furniture, under the magic influence of the icons of Milanese designers. Everything but fashion I would say. And then there is my “Glass World”. A world that is not just a material dimension. Inside the transparency, the colors, the inclusions and the shapes of blown glass there is a whole universe of images and sensations. There is my childhood with the same strong suggestions that only children can experience. Just in front of colored glass. So, this unique blend of inspirations is the common identity of my collections, even those intended for a faster distribution. Is the scent of my own “author’s style”.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your collections?
MC – The never-ending challenge of my life is to create something ‘new’ that satisfies my taste and my very personal concept of fashion style. New in everything. Before the design of a shape I create new fabrics, prints and decorations. This is my idea of style. I could never be satisfied with reproducing something already existing, even a flower shape. It is difficult to explain the sense of rejection for what is obvious or simply not original but my collections are the expression of this need of uniqueness. Ironically speaking my work attitude is to create each piece as if it was a unique and perfect object, as if it was a masterpiece to be left to posterity even if it is a t-shirt. It is a very difficult and tormented way of working but it leaves me no alternative. I never give up when I have a dream.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your work?
MC – I always listen to other people’s thoughts. My personal and professional growth are mainly due to my will to understand things. It’s this sort of curiosity that turned me in what I am now. But my experience in this work is very rich and it has been conquered in years of fights and sacrifices. Therefore is very rare that I take other people suggestions as gold. Allow me to be immodest at my age.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival?
MC – I really enjoyed the concept of Borders in many ways. I found some very innovative aspects. The continuity in time of the festival that gives a sense of a steady, permanent stage for artists. The choice of the location, so strongly linked to art but also to the international dimension of the festival platform. The size and method of access to artists. And by this I mean the possibility of exhibiting works in a simple, modern and direct way without having to deal with the tortuosity of traditional concepts. I appreciated the organization’s effort to give to the artists as much support and visibility as possible, making them feel the concreteness of this support.
LC – How did it inspire you?
MC – Just the idea of showing my dresses in such an atmosphere like the one of the exhibition was an inspiration. To be among young talents coming from all over the world and in my favorite place on Earth has been so energizing. To show our work in the right place together with the right people is one of the most important feeling for those who create.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, have the dresses presented been created for the festival or as a part of a preexisting project?
MC – Actually both things. The two dresses exposed at the festival are part of a professional path that links my work and my research to the suggestions of art in blown glass. I thought that Borders was the perfect occasion to present these two dresses: In September, in Venice, in an art festival. What more? So my staff and I hurried up working in August to be ready. Because behind this decision there is the time spent processing fabrics to make them shiny, reflective, transparent, the days spent inventing imaginary shapes. Days of needle and thread, of strictly hand-stitched seams. A long hard work to be there.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
MC – I believe that the organization has created the right climate for such an art event. First of all I found an excellent selection of artworks. Beautiful locations. A friendly and light atmosphere all around. I felt the commitment to give concrete help to participating artists. This is very much.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
MC – In my opinion Itsliquid is a great reality made up of innovative and important ideas and therefore destined to expand and to impose its own format. The people of Itsliquid showed a real passion for art and for the world around it, including the marketing aspects. There is not much to add except that I would be happy to share new projects with Itsliquid group. Ready for future events and sure to see the growth of Itsliquid formula.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
MC – Under technical and organizational aspects I believe that the efforts you have made are simply remarkable. I missed a bit a sort of an aggregation link between the participating artists. It is true that in times of fear for the Covid19 this is a delicate aspect but I would not be sorry for a little more of “community feeling”. It would be nice if in next editions you could push a bit more in creating relationships between all the participants.