Profile: Amabile Cantisani and Frank Caracciolo

March 12, 2012

By Hannah Yakobi

Photography by Alex Mouganis

Many fashion designers strive to inject inspiration from art into their collections, but few are able to do so successfully.

Amabile Cantisani has done just that and, in fact, she has taken the concept to a whole new level.

It all began four years ago when Cantisani, who is based in Montréal, decided to collaborate with New York artist Frank Caracciolo. The duo thought it would be unique to combine Caracciolo’s abstract pieces with Cantisani’s fashion expertise.

Frank Caracciolo (left) and Amabile Cantisani.

“I met Amabile at an art exhibition in Montréal, and when she saw some of my work we decided to collaborate and make a scarf,” says Caracciolo. “This turned into an entire scarf collection, and then our ideas continued to grow.

“What we ended up doing is make fabrics: so I would do paintings and Amabile would come to the gallery, examine my abstract art and select a painting that that would become a basis for our collection.”

And so Amabile Fashions was born.

What is interesting is that Caracciolo makes art solely for “art purposes”, and Cantisani then chooses the art work she likes best, based solely on her instinct.

“Looking at art is the most exciting part for me,” says Cantisani. “How do I choose which piece will be my inspiration? It’s instant. I never have to think about it.

“As a designer you have to do your research but, having done a few seasons with Frank, I realized that, somehow, through his work I am able to make very accurate trend forecasts.”

“It has to do with colour, movement and feeling,” adds Caracciolo. “One thing leads to another and that is how a collection is born.”

The design duo with Vanessa Di Palma Wright after their show at Nolcha.

The duo recently presented their latest line at the Nolcha Fashion Week: New York. They collaborated with Farasha Boutique and its owner Vanessa Di Palma Wright. Farasha does pop-up shops across the United States and was presenting a collection of seven of its designers at Nolcha.

“We connected through a mutual friend in New York,” says Di Palma Wright. “When I started the company I was aggressively looking for new, different, emerging, global designers. I got in touch with Frank and Amabile about one-and-half years ago and what I liked about them is that they are based out of Canada, their work is great and the concept of art-meets-fashion is wonderful.”

So what is next for this talented duo?

“I’d like us to continue doing what we have been doing so far: be consistent with the designs and our vision,” says Cantisani. “And we will probably expand in the near future and find markets that can appreciate our products.”

Amabile Fashions at Nolcha Fashion Week

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