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Massimo Casagrande, the long and shirt of it

Celebrating its fifth birthday this year, Fashion East's Menswear Installations collaborates with Red Bull Catwalk Studio for the first time. With sweet music being made for autumn/winter 14, we caught up with each designer. The final stop on the talent tour is shirtmaker, Massimo Casagrande.

Massimo, what are you upto and what can you see?
I'm currently back home in Italy for the holidays after a quick pit stop in Paris, finishing off final bits for the new collection. My house looks out onto the foot of the Alps. A fresh pot of espresso from our old, trusted Bialetti has just brewed filling the room with the most amazing aroma (my absolute favourite smell ever!).

What's your favourite colour?
Blue. Definitely blue. …especially the darker shades, from ultramarine through to Prussian blue. 

What’s the last text message you sent?
“We're drinking at Le Coeur Fou, rue montmatre..come join us.”

When did you realise you wanted to be a menswear designer?
My final year at college. We had to prepare concepts for our graduation show and I did a whole in-depth exploration and research into the structure and construction behind Frank Gehry’s ‘Ginger and Fred’ building in Prague, and all I could see was menswear! Fabrics, shapes, and volumes…it felt natural to work towards menswear, and have done so ever since.

What's your earliest fashion memory?
An Italian cliché’ but it has to be watching ‘Donna sotto le Stelle’ on TV as a kid…that, and my brother and I wearing matching Gucci jumpers as kids.

What’s your biggest design inspiration?
Art. Always art.

How did you react when you got the call from Fashion East? Where were you, what did you?
I had just come home from work and received the call, it was totally unexpected and took a while to sink in after I hung up the phone. I remember having the biggest smile on my face.

What do Fashion East's Installations mean to you?
They're great opportunity for designers to gain exposure and recognition. I have friends who started off showcasing their brands through the Fashion East Installations and they have become established brands in the LFW scene. I've always admired and respected what Lulu Kennedy and Fashion East installations do to help designers, the support and advice they give is a truly valuable asset.  

What was the initial catalyst for this collection?
Metamerism. The artist Adam McEwan. Textures.

Describe your mood board.
It consisted of photographic shots from the studios of Giacometti and Rebecca Warren. Looking at their work seemed the most natural starting point. It also consists of images of different surfaces and textures, ranging from photographs I took of pavements and concrete structures via the art works of Adrian Villar Rojas whose concrete works were on display the Serpentine Sackler Gallery recently and Adam McEwan who’s recent work at Freize really inspired me. This then led me to explore into creating print ideas and textured surfaces by looking at different mediums.

How are you working with the Red Bull catwalk studio?
Red Bull have been fantastic. Through the Red bull catwalk studio, I have teamed up with the perfect partner in crime; Ronika, together we had a great time creating the soundtrack for the installation. Prior to our meeting up Ronika had viewed some of my previous work, I then invited her to attend the photo shoot for the new collection.

What can you tell us about the soundtrack?
Ronika has come up with a great soundtrack, which reflects and mirrors the textures and layers of my collections.

Did you enjoy thinking about the collection in a more holistic, multi-sensory way?
Absolutely. It takes the collection to a whole new level.

What excites you about the future of London menswear?
London has a rich heritage when it comes to menswear and I think that London Collections: Men has come at the perfect time. Over the past few years menswear has steadily grown and gained the recognition it deserved in London. Thanks also have to go to people like Lulu Kennedy, Fashion East and NEWGEN MEN for helping to push and promote menswear. I look forward to seeing it grow each year with more designers showcasing their collections and eventually growing into a full scale men’s week like Milan and Paris.

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