Designer to the stars Fausto Puglisi aims out of this world

Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:16pm EST
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By Isla Binnie

MILAN (Reuters) - Fausto Puglisi's elaborately embroidered dresses have been worn by Madonna and will be featured alongside titans of Italian fashion at London's Victoria & Albert museum this year, but his ambitions for his young brand are as grand as his designs.

Puglisi got his big break in 2010 when Dolce & Gabbana invited him to sell his clothes in their shop in Milan, and he opened his first monobrand store in Rome last year.

Now he wants to distribute his bejewelled bodices, printed blouses and flared skirts all over the world.

"I want to be huge. I want to be on Mars," the tattooed 37 year-old told Reuters as he waited for delivery of his autumn-winter collection ahead of his second catwalk show in Milan after a 2013 debut at the city's biannual women's fashion week.

Born in Sicily, Puglisi went to New York aged 18 and worked as a waiter before he met stylists Patti Wilson and Arianne Phillips, who introduced their clients Whitney Houston and Madonna to a capsule collection he had made in Italy.

When Madonna chose to wear Puglisi, fellow Sicilian designer Domenico Dolce and his partner Stefano Gabbana took notice.

"Puglisi is a typical Sicilian's like Smith in London," Puglisi chuckled. "Domenico Dolce kept asking: who is this Puglisi?"

Being chosen by the Milan-based duo to appear at a star-studded showcase for new designers eventually provided Puglisi with the two essentials for any fledgling fashion business: publicity and investment.   Continued...

Singer Madonna performs during the halftime show at the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots in Indianapolis, Indiana, February 5, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar