Thursday, January 26, 2006

Designer Profile: Maurizio Altieri of Carpe Diem

If one wants to talk about artisanship and craftsmanship, to get away from all the garbage that surrounds fashion – advertising, neurotic personalities, glittery magazines that sell fakery in forms of images and banal collections of syllables – in other words if one wants to concentrate on the garment itself (and after all, garment is fashion, everything else is filler) – one must talk about Maurizio Altieri.

Altieri decided to pursue his real passion – crafting clothes - after getting degrees in economy and jurisprudence. After working for some time at Chrome Hearts, he decided to strike out on his own. Thus his label, Carpe Diem, was formed in 1994. It started out as a leather house, and subsequently moved into cottons and knits (L’Maltieri and Linea lines), and bespoke (Anatomica WatchIt! and Sartoria lines).

Mr. Altieri at Work
The design philosophy from day one was creating timeless, utilitarian, hand-made clothes from highest quality materials that have undergone unique treatments. These included leathers (horsehide, cowhide, anaconda) that have been washed, distressed, crushed, and buried in soil for months, silver sterling buttons, 12-gauge over dyed cashmere, and hard cottons. The pride in craftsmanship techniques and attention to detail is on par with one that goes into fabric development - .all garments are hand made, the pants are lined, seams are carefully distressed. The result of this industrious labor is that the soul of the maker can truly be seen in the clothes. The garments, displayed on meat hooks (to remember the leather-making roots of the company), come with their own tube cases – a sign of respect for a garment.

Carpe Diem on Hooks at Atelier Boutique, NYC

They call on you to touch, examine, and contemplate them. Their beauty is in their purity, just like the purity of the Carpe Diem house manifests in its refusal to advertise, produce seasonal collections, fashion shows, and engage in other activities that are expected of a fashion house. Such philosophy forces one to appreciate the garment itself, stripped -- and that is the final, most beautiful, and purest manifestation of creating clothes.

Distressed Horsehide Boots with Leather Laces

Crushed Washed Leather Shirt

Laser Cut Leather Jacket

Crushed Leather Coat
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