Ennio still true to form

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 April, 2000, 12:00am

A revolutionary change of the female silhouette in 1987 has paid off for designer Ennio Capasa, who founded Costume National that year.

'Nobody did it then, but I took off those huge shoulder pads and created a new silhouette,' says Ennio, who was in town recently.

The result was the sleek, lean and more fitted look which has earned him much praise. 'I think people were ready for change then. Body-consciousness was coming to the fore . . . my clothes were closer to the body and more real.' The idea behind Costume National, which has fashionistas flocking to his boutique in the Lee Gardens, is to bring the perfection of couture to the street.

'My inspiration and themes change each season, but the main idea remains the same,' says Ennio, who worked with design supremo Yohji Yamamoto before starting his own label.

'What's important is for a fashion designer not to lose his edge,' says Ennio. 'You have got to feel what's going on and not lose the link with the artistic movement, otherwise you risk becoming egotistic.' And egotistic is something Ennio cannot be accused of. With a humble, low-key manner, he admits that it's only clothes he creates and not philosophy.

His line of menswear debuted in 1993, and so far it's been worn by Bono of U2, Mick Jagger, Nick Cave, Lenny Kravitz and Jamaroquai.

'I was inspired by rock stars because I grew up with bands like the Doors and the Rolling Stones,' he says. 'What I design - the lean and sexy silhouette - is really the rock stars' body type.' Ennio says that when he first started his menswear collection he couldn't find the right kind of model to wear them. 'All the male models then were bulky and muscle-bound . . . I finally used skinny boys I found in theatre schools in Milan.'