CROSSING THE OCEAN IN STYLE, GIORGIO DI SANT’ANGELO
Posted on November 27, 2012 by Marco Maggetto
Oh Italians, they are such adventurous fellows. They may be very boring travelers but for sure, they are flamboyant immigrants. They may not speak a word of any foreign language but for sure they are ready to risk. When the whatever country seems way much better than your own, what can you lose? Italians always want to live somewhere else, they are never satisfied. I think sometimes they get to be good designers for this reasons, they are perfectionists always ready to relocate somewhere over Paris or North America. The most fashionable of all Italian immigrants arrived in New York in the 60’ies : he was named Giorgio di Sant’Angelo, the son of a count from Florence. Born in 1933, Di Sant’Angelo was clearly an artist and despite his degree in Architecture he also studied industrial design and ceramics and attended a 6 months art course helded by someone called Pablo Picasso. Under the encouragement of the Cubist co-founder, Di Sant’Angelo created an animated cartoon and sent it to Walt Disney. Disney flew him to Hollywood to collaborate, but the young Italian guy was not able to speak a word of English and after 15 days in Los Angeles he relocated to New York City in search for another adventure. As the cartoon field was a failure, Di Sant’Angelo started to work as a textile artist and interior designer making his name jumping from Z to A list in few months.
He was a peroxide blonde, thin and cute and extremely stylish and it was, yes her, Diana Vreeland that saw some plastic jewelry made by him on Catherine Di Montezemolo, another girl devoted to the Vogue cult, that recognized his talent by hiring him as freelance stylist for Vogue Magazine. Almost all shootings that made Vreeland a bigger name were styled by Di Sant’Angelo. Verushka wrapped in fur in the red desert or the psychedelic flower make up around one of Twiggy’s eyes. After some years it was logical, and fair, that the guy from Italy was supposed to open up his ready to wear line. It was 1966. Di Sant’Angelo was an hazardous stylist and suddenly a hippy bohemian designer. He was famous for his innovative use of knitwear and his immense love for ethnic and tribal. At a certain point, in 1970, the deluxe Italian immigrant won a prestigious American Coty Fashion Cristic’s Award. The guy that wasn’t able to speak was finally an American.
“To me, soul means freedom and inner confidence. I express it in happy, bright colors, and in simplicity of design.”
Above: Di Sant’Angelo and Verushka June 1968.
Marisa Berenson March 1, 1970, New York City, New York, USA — Tasseled earring by Giorgio di Sant’Angelo. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis
Veruschka in Sant’Angelo by Franco Rubartelli
One of the latest designs. Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford in tops by Giorgio di Sant’Angelo, January 1990, photo by Peter Lindbergh