Backstage

  • Costume National designer Ennio Capasa
  • Backstage at the Costume National Spring 2011 runway show
  • Backstage at the Costume National Spring 2011 runway show
  • Backstage at the Costume National Spring 2011 runway show
  • A look from the Costume National Spring 2011 runway show
  • A look from the Costume National Spring 2011 runway show
  • A look from the Costume National Spring 2011 runway show
  • A look from the Costume National Spring 2011 runway show
  • A look from the Costume National Spring 2011 runway show
  • A look from the Costume National Spring 2011 menswear show
  • A look from the Costume National Spring 2011 menswear show
  • A look from the Costume National Spring 2011 menswear show
  • Ennio at the Costume National Spring 2011 menswear show
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Ennio Capasa

Ennio Capasa’s focus on design in its purest form has helped him build a lauded fashion career lasting more than two decades. Capasa spent three years assisting Yohji Yamamoto in Japan – becoming the designer’s protégé – before returning to his native Italy to launch the sleek label Costume National in 1986.

Capasa is credited with reinventing the ‘90s silhouette (relieving the masses from shoulder pads), and has since grown his fan base to include the likes of Mick Jagger, Katie Holmes and Milla Jovovich. He currently designs three fashion labels, including his main line, the menswear range Costume National Homme and the younger-focused C’N’C Costume National. This week, the fashion icon tells us how he defines his personal style, why a well designed space can enhance creativity, and what a client could expect from an Ennio Capasa hair salon.


How have you maintained such a noteworthy career, especially today when designers – and labels – can become disposable?


I’ve always stayed true to my vision, and I’ve never forgotten what the heart and soul of Costume National are – those values that I’ve believed in from my first collection.



How did you get involved in designing?


I was exposed to fashion at an early age since my parents own a boutique in my hometown. I used to look at the clients, imagining how to update their looks.

When did you realize you could turn fashion into a lifelong career?


In Japan, when I was working with Yohji Yamamoto. As soon as I got back, I founded Costume National with my brother.



What elements are important in defining your personal style?


A leather biker jacket…a tailored jacket.



What item in your wardrobe would surprise your fans most?


A Jim Morrison velvet damask jacket bought at an auction a long time ago.

You’ve said you believe in coherence between architecture, fashion and fragrance. Why is this important, and how does it affect your aesthetic?


I think we have to follow a file rouge in everything we do. Costume National is sexy, essential and urban, and I try to express those aspects in everything I design, from clothes to fragrances.

If you switched careers and become a hairstylist, how would your hair salon look?


Futuristic, essential and with a magical atmosphere.

And what would the dress code be at your salon?


An essential and sexy look.

When you stage a runway show, how do you choose what hairstyle will accompany your collection? The hairstyle is key to each outfit, but shouldn’t overpower it.

Some of your favorite New York spots?


I was in New York last November, and I came back in mid-April. New York is always a great source of inspiration, and I love just walking around. When I’m in there, I stop by the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, and I stay at the Mercer Hotel.



What’s your favorite way to do your hair?


My hair is so short that I don’t need to do anything to style it.



Last but not least, what’s your best tip for re-energizing yourself?


A 30-minute workout session every day, yoga and a balanced diet.

- JILL HILBRENNER
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