“Fashion has become less interesting, you can find the same work everywhere,” Gigli told The Fashionable Truth’s Daisy Zhong. “If you take out the labels from the clothes in most department stores it becomes impossible to tell the difference between collections.”
Gigli says fashion has been short of creative oxygen since the mid-90s and the problem is getting worse. “For over a decade, until the 1990s, visual fashion was in its heyday.
In fashion shows from those days, it’s easy to recognise one designer from another, with different collections, different kinds of styles. But now the fashion world is in a state of confusion.”
His critique of contemporary fashion echoes that of Vivienne Westwood, another style icon, who attacked the idea of “disposable fashion” for making people all look the same and “never so ugly”. Gigli cites the influence of corporate money as a key factor in the decline of diversity.
The relationship between art and commerce has always been fraught, but Gigli believes that these two now contradict each other more than ever, as designers “play safe” to satisfy a market that is either unsophisticated or conventional. “The fashion world is under too much control now, because of the power of money. And it’s not helping creativity.”
Gigli identifies the growth of luxury conglomerates as a major force in restricting creativity, especially the way conglomerates put profit ahead of innovation.
“When you have no freedom, you cannot do what you want, nor can you build something different. Whereas 20 years ago fashion was full of freedom, reverberating with what was happening in art, design, and architecture, now the freedom of fashion is much more limited. Nowadays fashion is just about a skirt, a shirt, and a pair of trousers.”
Gigli has put his past financial woes behind him in recent times and has re-established an interesting arc for his career with Joyce. He especially enjoys working with and for the women of Asia. “I want to underline the soft, petite frames and the gentle demeanour of Oriental women. What I love about Oriental women is the kindness, loveliness and subtleness in their approach, which European women are missing. When I was working on a design, I thought of the elegant movement of their arms. In the same way, I like to frame their face, neck and shoulder on my models.”