A few years ago I started writing; stories, thoughts, an uninterrupted series of words that tell emotions.
Here is some of my early writing, the beginning of a very pleasant journey:
« ……………………………fair, round and, somewhat curly-haired, that’s how I was back then. And thinking about it now, I could compare my scent to that of an exquisite salami sandwich, sweet but with a slightly exotic taste as if those little peppercorns had somehow overpowered everything despite their small size. Pale in winter, my face would change with the summer sun. It would then come alive with the warmer light of small dark planets and not very bright stars, like the negative of a photo taken at night. Then my eyes would gleam in a universe like two twin and parallel moons, round and black surrounded by a firmament of stars and planets: the freckles that completely covered my face. In the mirror, which I barely reached without the help of a chair, my eyes were opened to an image unknown to me until then: the summer would change me, and it was a joy to me to observe a stranger with familiar features. Like my words, my hands now moved with greater ease. There was something I didn’t like so much about summer. I was sorry not to need my little blue woollen gloves embroidered on the back with a fisherman with his rod and fish; I was sorry to see my little bare hands without their protective covering. But there was one thing about summer that filled me with joy: every day my hair took on the shiny, golden hue that was characteristic of my first few years of life. Then it occurred to me to wait, to dream of the approaching summer, which, for some reason, made me feel more loved. My aunt Rossana lived with her father on the second floor of my building. In the eyes of this small child, their small flat seemed to be very long and narrow, and ended at my grandfather’s room, which was warm and bright in the afternoon sun. It blazed then, as it does now in my memory, like a curtain on fire. In the orange sunset, his old furniture lost its austere and almost mournful look. Everywhere I looked, bronze friezes could be made out on wooden drawers and doors featuring rounded shapes. Everything there told the story of a distinguished family: a sweet past, with flavours of faraway and forgotten provinces. Through the blown glass you could clearly make out the embarrassment and discontent of the chandelier at having to leave some resplendent parlour for that simple room in the city. A somewhat narrow window overlooked the building’s large garden. At that time I didn’t even reach the sill, but it opened out onto a green space with a row of tall pines marking out the long perimeter. There was also a small cherry tree that Luigi, the caretaker, was said to have planted on the day I was born. It was an imaginary spot that lived on in my mind as something magical, a place that my father liked to define with his air of legendary mysticism as “unforgettable”. That spot, it seemed, had seen who knows what feats of valour or unexploded bombs during the last war; now it was a simple and confusing tangle of ivy – the greenest point of the garden – with a green as opaque and intense as a mystery. The spot was invisible from the room because it was hidden by a high wall, but for me it was ever present like a strange and sweet thought. The kitchen in that flat was poorly lit, owing to its unfortunate orientation; the light that did penetrate through the window was only a cold and faint reflection. Where the kitchen in most homes represents the centre of everything, here it was as though it had been marginalised by all of the other rooms in the place and become a “space” with no privileges whatsoever. It was rejected or abandoned; it definitely lacked something. In fact, what the kitchen was missing was warmth, a female presence that should have represented the healthy alchemy typical of such a place. I am sure it was the untimely death of my grandmother that had created this hybrid. But thinking about it now, something from faraway and yet present managed every movement and controlled anyone who, either out of need or pleasure, crossed that fascinating and mysterious territory. Above the entrance there was a blue wooden cage on the wall that attracted my attention more than anything. Cheerful canaries, mostly saffron in colour, kept time to the steps of every visitor like little bells. In the sitting room, the blind mandolin player was the beautiful and mysterious companion of every visitor. Motionless, she lived inside a dark carved frame, separated and protected from glances and temptation by a pane of glass. On the lower right-hand side of the canvas, thick letters spelt out words of dedication: to my brother Antonio. Besides the enigmatic mandolin player, and as if it were a mysterious chest, the room contained other items that seemed large and unapproachable in my eyes. I held them in respect and awe owing to the exceptional and important use that was given to them. This was because there were very few occasions when I could visit the beautiful mandolin player. On each and every one of my visits, I became absorbed by her, concerned as I was about her health and by all that time she spent unmoving and in a dream-like state. The black, opaque and sinuously-shaped telephone rarely broke the stillness of the unchanging atmosphere with its rings. There at the entrance, it was a source of endless curiosity for me, who was nothing but a child. It sat on a small cabinet in the hallway and its presence dominated over everything. The numbers on it, 32 39, were magic numbers for me, charged with power; they provided a connection with my father and my mother, who were far away but always within reach. I often went to this house, after school or on mornings when lessons were cancelled for whatever reason. I would eagerly and impatiently climb the stairs to get there as soon as I could. It was a pleasure for me to experience those tastes and smells, even for a moment. Everything was so mysterious. The scents of long ago and past things would mingle wonderfully with the now faint smells from last evening’s meal. This home was only one in a large building where an infinite number of flats rose in a geometric jumble of yelling, windows, balconies and hanging clothes. “La Signora Assunta” lived on the first floor. She was a dark woman, always dressed in black, of a sociable nature. Her windows were decorated with a few plants, flecks of green that brightened the shady courtyard. We lived on the third floor, our flat reached by a different staircase. Narrower, but with more light, this staircase rose from the courtyard, in front of a circular space lined with small stones. Zealously pruned wild blackberry bushes formed a geometric frame, lining those unnatural contours like disciples. The blackberry bushes and their circle of white stones formed part of a green space surrounded by tall buildings…………………………… »
« ……………………………….in the midst of this garden was a single tree. Its spear-like leaves produced rounded and uneven foliage, and their uncertain colour further accentuated that natural confusion. In my eyes, this tree was something mysterious to be discovered. Its life continued with the passing seasons and it always had leaves, even if they were somewhat changed. It stood there, even when around us time would bring about important events, some joyful and others hard and painful. It was always there as a tower of strength. It knew everything about us – our habits, our pleasures and our happiness; it knew our smiles and our screams. I remember more than once having dreamt of being able to build a little house in its branches, so as to be able to live out my life of fantasy invisibly, protected by those little spears. Luigi, the caretaker, also tended to the plants; and whenever this happened, our tree changed its appearance. Like a docile child, it accepted the impositions of such a severe father. It was severe, because the drastic pruning changed that solitary being for several seasons. But with time, I came to realise that the child in fact only seemed to accept such cruel treatment. It never listened to anything and would continue with its life following the wild rhythm of nature. I loved that subtle and sophisticated revenge that made this quiet tree such an indomitable rebel. There was a concrete lane around the flower beds to separate the two worlds, enclosing and imprisoning that man-made green island. All the emotions, pleasure, frustrations and stress of the people crossing the courtyard day by day reached our windows. It was simple; you just had to open a window and wait. You could pretend to be doing nothing or actually be occupied and you would end up with a shout, a smell of cooking or gentle laughter invading the room………………….……….. »
Italian fashion designer Maurizio Galante is one of the most respected Parisian couturiers. Over the past 30 years, his creative talent and body of work has earned him numerous prestigious awards in Italy, France and beyond.
In 2008 he was made ‘Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres à Paris’ by the Ministry of Culture for his contribution to the French fashion industry. He has presented his haute couture collections in Paris since 1991 as an official member of the very closed circle of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, a prestigious group of Parisian fashion houses.
With a focus on the transversal approach, his vision emphasises the meeting point between the different disciplines of design, architecture, fashion and art. His creations, in many aeras it addresses, are “objects of desire”, “conversation pieces” destined to elicite emotions. His inspiration and his approach embrace and transfigure traditional craftsmanship in exquisite designs, stylish and contemporary.
He designs costumes for theatre and opera, and has worked with famous directors, including Luca Ronconi and Giorgio Ferrara for the Piccolo Theatre of Milan, the Rome Opera, and Spoleto Festival Theatre.
Maurizio Galante creations are included in the permanent collections of prominent international Fashion and Art museums and he has participated in various exhibitions, including the Victoria & Albert museum in London, the Museum of Decorative Arts in the Louvre in Paris, Galliera museum in Paris, Kyoto Fashion Museum, MOMA museum of modern art in New York, Grand Palais in Paris, the Museum of Art and Industry in Saint Etienne, Triennial Design museum in Milan, MUDAM Modern Art Museum in Luxembourg, and Pompidou Centre in Paris.