Italian designer Stefano Canulli’s spectacular and classic creations have been seen throughout Europe. After completing his art studies in high school and Fine Arts in Rome, he studied art history at the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome and also took courses in photography and film. At the age of 19 he designed his first costumes for Italian cinema, working with the set and costume designer Piero Tosi, who had worked extensively with famed director Luchino Visconti.
Stefano was soon working for fashion houses in Rome and with the theatre and opera costume designer Mauro Pagano. While working as an illustrator for Vanity Fair magazine during the 1980s he designed beautiful evening dresses for the couture house of Roberto Capucci and created advertising campaigns for many well known designers including Valentino and Bruno Piatelli.
Before actually moving to Paris in 1992, Stefano began a fruitful collaboration with French designer Thierry Mugler in 1989, creating fashion shows and the advertising campaigns for his perfumes A-Men and Angel.
Stefano presented a large exhibition of his work in 1994 and his drawings were shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of an Italian footwear exhibition. The following year he published Précis d’extravagance, a lavishly illustrated work summarizing the history of fashion at its most extravagant.
In 2003, Stefano worked with Thierry Mugler to design costumes for the Cirque du Soleil show ZUMANITY, and in 2006 he made drawings for Philippe Guillotel’s costumes for The Beatles LOVE. Viva ELVIS is his first Cirque show as Costume Designer.
"At Cirque du Soleil, the movement, wear and comfort of the artist are the main constraints,” he says. “It's a fascinating world. These technical limitations have profoundly changed the way I work."
The style and approach of Stefano Canulli, for whom "drawing is the basis of everything,” are easily recognized in his designs for Viva ELVIS. "The costumes I've created for this show are a fantasy revolving around the 1950s, inspired by the image of Elvis. But the end result has nothing to do with a retro aesthetic,” he says. “Taking my usual classic and graphic approach, I flirted with the look of the Elvis era while bringing a contemporary touch to it."
Stefano Canulli was born in Rome in 1959.