We The Italians | Italian design: Angela Caputi, Design Between Art and Fashion

Italian design: Angela Caputi, Design Between Art and Fashion

Italian design: Angela Caputi, Design Between Art and Fashion

  • WTI Magazine #175 May 18, 2024
  • 204

Angela Caputi represents a case of particular interest in the Italian Design scene, placing herself in an ideal terrain between Fashion and Art. The Florentine designer and entrepreneur in 1975 left teaching and devoted herself full-time to the creation of highly innovative craftsmanship, characterized by strong originality and extreme quality.

Her path was neither simple nor smooth, partly because of her decision, definitely ahead of her time, to focus on the use of synthetic materials such as plastics and resins.

Recounts the courageous designer, “At first it was not easy because plastic was neither considered nor recognized as a raw material from which to make objects of great value, to the point that we were long identified in the category of ‘metalworkers.’ Similarly, several museums preferred to give space to productions by foreign designers instead of looking for beauty on our doorstep.”

Today, from all over the world people look up to Palazzetto Medici, the historic building in Florence, just a few steps from Ponte Vecchio, where the brand's creative heart beats.

Thanks to a whimsical and colorful style of soft geometries and refined workmanship, Angela Caputi has given dignity to the plastic and synthetic materials with which she makes her jewelry, going so far as to build an archive of thousands of pieces.

The success of the designer, whose works are also exhibited at the Museo degli Argenti and the Galleria del Costume in Florence, has taken on international dimensions, with a significant presence on a planetary level, from South Africa to New Zealand.

However, the brand unquestionably stands out for a very deep and established relationship with the United States.

The Florentine entrepreneur made her overseas debut in 2003, with her participation in the “Fashion Italian Style” exhibition at the Museum of FIT - Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

Later, in 2005 and 2006, there were the prestigious participations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Also in 2006, the Florence Committee of The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington gave her an award for outstanding contributions to the art world as an artist and creator of the jewelry line Giuggiù.

Now Angela Caputi has been designated “Ambassador of Design in New York” for the eighth edition of Italian Design Day, a day that celebrates design as an engine of innovation and the ability to manufacture value in over one hundred countries.

From June 15 to June 8, 2024, an exhibition entitled “Reflections/Riflessi: Angela Caputi” will also take place in the Big Apple, at the Italian Cultural Institute, to tell the story of her extraordinary adventure as a jewelry designer who combines tradition, innovation, sustainability and social responsibility.

The connection with the U.S. is also given by the designer's great passion for early American cinema, from which she has openly drawn inspiration for the style of her creations.

In fact, Angela Caputi says, “If I was inspired by the style of American cinema of the first half of the 20th century, it is because I lived through the postwar years: we were coming out of a world conflict and had to pull ourselves up, but while Italian films focused on neo-realism those overseas showed the will to live. And it is this imagery that I wanted to look at.”

Angela Caputi's Design, so warm and engaging, certainly draws from her strong charge of humanity.

The entrepreneur explicitly admits that she has a real passion for observing people, “It's something that has always fascinated me, you never know who you'll get your next inspiration from.”

She goes on to say, “Before I create my plastic jewelry, I study women's faces, imagine them and get inspired by that. My inspirations are instinctive, they never follow the fashions of the moment, those don't interest me. I am drawn to everyday life.”

She declares, significantly, that she believes deeply in “the ability to interact with the customer and to know how to listen to her. I believe that going back to valuing the human relationship is crucial for a thousand reasons. Not least, because it can give us the strength, spirit and desire to do more.”

Angela Caputi also represents a true devotee of the human-scale company, to the point that she dislikes the definitions of “entrepreneur” and “designer,” recognizing herself rather in that of “artisan.”

The designer has consistently chosen to limit the development of her own company, not to grow beyond a certain threshold, to remain an artisan in order to be free to make what she likes best.

She says in this regard, “I don't like the idea of expanding too much and becoming a commercial product.”

The brand name Giuggiù comes from the pet name by which the designer was called as a child.

In this particular one finds condensed the identity aspect of the brand and the entrepreneur's value universe, her radical attachment to roots and authenticity, her unquenchable desire to playfully sow beauty and wonder.