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Gabriele Papi is an Italian fashion stylist and art director based in Milan. He was born in a small town in Tuscany. He studied first Art and then Fashion Design at Polimoda in Florence and after that he won a scholarship at Osaka Bunka fashion college in Japan, where he had the chance to make an important research. Another significant place where he lived and worked for a while was Berlin. A city that allowed him to experiment with his emotions through photography and that gave him an opportunity to share and work with many artists. After these two important periods of his life, Gabriele has decided to move to Milan, where he has been working and living now for six years.

What was your favourite toy that you still remember from your childhood? Why?

I have grown up in a small village and since I was two years old I have always wanted to draw and create things. Probably my destiny was already written when I was ten. When the other children were playing football, I was worried about the aesthetics of their uniforms. 

What is your dressing style about?

Well, as my dressing style is really random I try to talk about what it means to me. Fashion is a really physical and concrete feeling for me. It is the mirror that reflects a certain type of mood. In my work, fashion is a meaning to express emotions and to tell a story. 

What is the coolest piece in your wardrobe?

It is a pair of pants that I designed in Japan. Though I never wear them, I just show to my friends. The pattern is a melting pot between 30’s Oxford baggie pants and the Japanese Hakama, two layers open on the sides.

If there is any style icon you follow, who is it and why?

I have always been fascinated by Jean Paul Goude as a polyhedral artist. Almost ten years ago I was in a mark in Florence where I found an amazing big book Tutto Goude, with all his sketches and creative processes, and even with a cd inside, showing a long and amazing film about his work. The genius behind Grace Jones, an illustrator and a director who turned advertising into art. All his work has always inspired and encouraged me to carry on my passions, that I never managed to limit to one sector.

What is your favourite decorative object in your house?

My favourite object is a colourful hand, a woven tapestry made by my friend Ginevra Franchi, for one exposition I’ve curated with our queer collective Vitamina Milano. I like this artwork because it is really made with love and represents something that really fits with the contemporary aspect…And a description she wrote is so special to me…and I feel it so much… The title of the art piece is CouCou.

It’s an improvised ballet at home alone. It’s a song that does not exist and that we whistle only in the evenings… CouCou contains all the energy of non-thinking, probably sometimes, the best state of self to create wonderful things.

Which neighbourhood in Milan is your favorite one? Why?

Especially now that we don’t have the opportunity to feel free in crowded streets, what I miss most is a normal Saturday with the person I love. I miss to bike to Navigli, to have a nice lunch at Temakinho and then to walk and to look for some props at the vintage market. And then to go chilling under the sun close to the canal. 

What is your favorite place in Milan? Why? 

Milan is full of places in which I like to get lost, especially in art and modern antiques… But if I have to choose one place, I would absolutely choose Capoverde, a plant-herbal shop and a restaurant located inside a historical greenhouse, where the tables are surrounded by tropical plants that you can buy, as well. I always bring there people that I care the most, especially during spring time when flowers are blooming and a fresh bottle of Gewürztraminer is always ready to be shared!

What was the coolest country, city or place to have the best fun ever? What did you do? 

The coolest place I have been is Whole Festival, for sure. It is an electronic music camping set on a lake in Germany. This festival is born from the main Berlin queer scene that turned it into a special meeting for all the queer collectives from almost all over the world.  I had the chance to collaborate, design and then to make an installation for one of the stages of the festival with our crew Vitamina. Vitamina is an energetic queer party, beating in the heart of Milan, since 2016. Music, art expositions, installations and nature are the fireworks that heat a psychedelic atmosphere within its events.

How do you spent your home stay these days?

It is not an easy moment because after a tough work session I was so ready to travel and get fresh inspirations… But all my plans got deleted, of course, and now, I don’t know when this will be possible at all. On the other hand, I’m lucky, because I’m safe, and I’m not alone. My days are fast and slow at the same time. I wake up super early, like at 6 or 7 am. And in these precious hours, I have a special moment with myself. I do a lot of research for upcoming projects, I draw storyboards and change forever the interior of the house, listen to a lot of music that always saves my day. Like my parents, I’m becoming a really hardcore environmentalist in this period. I have plenty of time to take ultra care about recycling. Every little plastic thing I consume, if dirty, I wash it in a maniacal way and throw it away to a proper trash bin. It’s a way to meditate and keep myself busy for a good reason. I try to use this time to force myself into a change, that is coming both from inside and outside.

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