Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ennio Capasa
for Costume National

Hailing from the heel of Italy's boot - the town of Lecce - Ennio Capasa was raised on fashion. Capasa's parents were proprietors of several upscale boutiques showcasing a glamorous abundance of couture. As a child, the designer despised fashion, but the allure of design lead him to enroll in the Milan Academy of Fine Arts in 1982. As the founder of Costume National, Capasa has embraced his fashion beginnings and today designs clothes that straddle the line between everyday wear and on-the-town elegance.

When asked why he hated fashion as a child, the designer explained that he had believed many of his parent's clientele were both bored and rich and he wanted to avoid the lifestyle that he associated with fashion. Upon graduating from the Milan art school in 1982, Capasa sought work overseas and found it in Japan working for Yohji Yamamoto where he learned to drape, cut and sew for roughly three years.

Capasa left Japan with Yamamoto's suggestion to begin his own label. His talent apparent early on. However, instead of using his own surname as so many designers do, he took inspiration from an antique book of uniforms and Costume National was born in 1993. Even at this early stage, Capasa's designs reflected a desire to blur the line between formal and informal attire.

Capasa's subsequent designs can ultimately be described as stylishly hip-relaxed yet sporting an innate sexiness. Although Capasa's first collections were for men, he quickly launched a women's line, but it did not meet with initial approval from the Italian fashion press. Nevertheless, even without an initial press buzz, the savvy designer has met with considerable success in both his men and women's fashions. He is known throughout the world these days with his own boutiques in Rome, Milan, Tokyo and New York.

Generally speaking, Capasa's clothing (he also designs bags, belts and leather items) tends to focus on the hips, neck and shoulders. It is a cosmopolitan style interested in urban colors and the play between glossy and mat accents. His clothing has been described as "second-skin" and close-to-the body without simply being tight. Clothing that is sensual is the designer's hallmark.

Recent collections have conveyed a subtle safari motif with buttoned pockets and African accents. The designer has also launched shoe and cologne lines that have greatly pleased his most receptive audience. Costume National is also available from other upscale and progressive retailers like Barney's of New York.

By J. A. Young

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