Behind Frankie Morello’s playground
Frankie Morello’s style is fun and ironic. Exaggeration is a way of self-expression. Skyscraper heels, studded men skirts or origami inspired ribbon dresses, nothing seems impossible for Frankie Morello’s creative duo Maurizio Modica and Pierfrancesco Gigliotti’s creations.
They have dressed stars in the likes of Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Roisin Murphy, Ciara, Laura Pausini, Demi Lovato, Donatella Rettore, Kelly Osbourne…To name a few. Fond of art, they have launched collaborations with internationally know artists: Robert Bradford and Andrew Yang. From their parties to their store windows, the set up is always a good reason to pass by.
Maurizio Modica use to be a choreographer and a costume designer and worked on events for big Italian design names such as Alessi. Pierfrancesco Gigliotti has an architectural background and has worked in Paris, Stockholm and Milan.
Their label covers menswear, womenswear, accessories, lingerie and childrenswear called “Toys”.
Backstage and on stage at Frankie Morello’s Women AW11 Show
Fashion Salade got the pass for the show in front of the Duomo in Milan. Great Location that promised a great show. As always there is the show before the show and we were lucky to get the badge and the right to enter the back part of the tent.
We lifted the curtain, pushed the door and entered a world of fashion bees running around after clothes, makeup and hairpins. Surrounded by tulle, yellow faux-fur tops and coats, high heeled studded loafers and could hardly picture what we were about to see but we knew already that it would be a show time. As always we shot some backstage spots on the dot and had to leave and take our front row seat.
As the light went down, a contemporary ballet was taking place followed by models thrown on the catwalk in vibrant hues and shoe inspired “chignons”. A ode to shoes? For sure this is the star accessory of Frankie Morello’s next winter collection. We will definitely want desperately the high heeled lace-ups, the hairpin floor skimming dresse and the gold double button trouser suit. A nod to the fifties and its iconic American housewives the collection is called Mad (Wo) Man and yes, we are actually mad about the cool take on baseball jackets painted in red with matching cropped trousers. Think Grease, the seventies movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John minus the milk shakes and the jukebox.
Chunky, boldly, shiny… This is the winter wardrobe we want!
1. If you were to describe yourselves in 3 words?
Maurizio: Eclectic, creative and romantic
Pierfrancesco: Determined, pragmatic, imaginative
2. How did you meet?
We met in New York at a dinner organized by some common friends.
3. How did you come up with the brand Frankie Morello?
We were both in a transition period. One of us has a background in dancing and the other one in architecture. We wanted to create a studio in which we could work on different levels of artistic expressions. Fashion was the first step we wanted to try, it started as a game between us and turned out to be an unpredicted business project.
4. Do you split tasks? What are you, Pierfrancesco responsible for? And you, Maurizio?
We work together. We do not split the work in a set way. We are complementary and thanks to our different points of view we can enrich our creative discussion.
5. What is ironic to you? Why are your collections always a bit ironic?
Irony is a way of confronting life without letting external influences get in your way, which is why it’s always present in our collections.
6. How would you define the term ‘chic’? In Milan, people tend to exaggerate when it comes to style and in Paris “less is more”.
Being chic requires talent. There is no geographic rule for being chic. You can be chic by exaggerating everything or by keeping everything at its simplest. Your look depends on how you want to express yourself.
7. Frankie Morello is not just a fashion brand but also a true lifestyle. You organise cool events and big parties and do invest in art with the ‘Frankie Morello Meets Art’ initiative. What’s next on your agenda?
We are currently cool hunting. We are not interested in superficial private parties. Our events must always have an intellectual appeal.
10. What do you collect and why?
Maurizio: I collect paintings and love discovering new talents that express my feelings with their art.
Pierfrancesco: I have a collection of toys and ceramic vases from Western Germany. Collecting is a masculine passion that demonstrates a part of one’s subconscious.
11. What does the word ‘toy’ mean to you?
Toy means fun, passion and joy.
12. What has inspired ‘Frankie Morello Meets Art’?
This project is born when we opened our store. We wanted to have a space, which would welcome unexpected and innovative cultural events, and would give unknown artists a place to exhibit their work to reach a new audience.
13. Why did you choose Robert Bradford and Andrew Yang?
Robert Bradford was important for Pierfrancesco because he has a talent for reinterpreting the world of toys, and Maurizio is very interested in Kooklitas because of our “doll” digital project.
14. What is special about these two exhibitions?
We realised that some people who are geographically speaking far from you can be spiritually very close.
15. Have you ever thought of launching an exhibition with your toy collection?
We are working on it.
16. What inspires you?
Music, cinema and art.
17. Your fashion shows need big productions and feature surprising settings or props such as a remake of Chinatown, or vampires. How do you choose the theme?
A show is just the top of the iceberg. There are 6 months of hard work required to produce a show. We build a specific scene to engage our audience.
18. What’s your favourite show so far?
Maurizio: FW 2011-12 Men
Pierfrancesco: FW 2009-10 Women
19. Who would you like to dress in the future?
Maurizio: James Franco and Charlotte Gainsbourg
Pierfrancesco: Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman
Frankie Morello in the blogging sphere
Spotted and shot with Bryan Boy the creative duo has found an animated version of their doll. BB is just the perfect persona to sit next to the designers and to play in Frankie Morello on its playground. Overdoing it, is as much its trademark than it is the one of the playful Italian brand and to be honest it does inspire us and pushes us to go beyond our fashion set up frames and why not be over the top!
Creative Director: Paola Erazun