In Catania, Art School students became protagonists of the parade and the exhibit organized for the Saint patron celebrations

These students of Fashion Design class are young, talented and great fashion enthusiasts. Armed with needle, thread, cloths and ornaments they fashioned dresses for the eighteenth edition of Magnificat, an exhibition of theatrical gowns dedicated to Saint Agatha, which was conceived and organized by the professor Liliana Nigro.

DRESSING THE SAINT. «My excitement for fashion dates back to my childhood. I’ve always been interested in great stylists’ fashion shows and I love drawing dress patterns», said the 33-years-old Francesca Riolo, third year student of Fashion Designer class, who dreams of Naomi Campbell wearing one of her masterpieces one day. «I’ve always been devoted to Saint Agatha – continued the young woman – so realizing a dress in her honor fills me with pride».

Her creation consists of two colors: white, representing purity and innocence, and gold, which symbolizes Christian spiritual wealth. On February 1st  Francesca Riolo’s dress paraded, together with other 200 creations, from Piazza Università to Palazzo dei Chierici, to the strains of the jazz musician Francesco Mistretta and the mezzo-soprano Maria Russo accompanied by the Ensemble Musicainsieme of Librino and the Manos Blancas Choir.The dress designed by Francesca Riolo

THE EXHIBITION. On February 4th an exhibition of cloths dedicated to the Saint took place in the church Madonna del Carmine. These creations were made by the winners of last year’s scholarship of the Maison Alta Moda Sposa Amelia Casablanca, which every year offers an internship at its atelier to three budding stylists.

LOOKING AHEAD. Francesco Buggea won the last edition and spent his scholarship on new projects linked to fashion world. He told us: «The theme of the last exhibition was “Agatha: the brave martyr”. This inspired me to go to back to the origin: the Catherdral where the Saint lies behind a baroque grating». This intuition lead him to design a black and long sheath dress caged by a grating structure, which refers to that of the Cathedral, adorned by a luxurious shrug inspired by the simulacrum, which is totally covered with 800 vintage golden buttons.

«I felt an unexpected emotion and a great joy for the applause at Palazzo dei Chierici» said Francesco, who recalls one of his very first Christmas presents: a sketch pad with female fashion plates, crayons and tempera paints. «I still don’t have a clear goal, but I hope that whatever life will throw my way, it will speak to my love for fashion in some way. Hopefully, I will find myself in Milan. It would be an exciting prospect but at the same time leaving my home would sadden me greatly: I have a beautiful relationship with my family, which has always supported me and to whom I owe all my goals».

The 27-years-old Mariapaola Chillemi from Siracusa was also selected for the internship at Maison in 2017. She immensely loves her work and inherited love for fashion, musicals,theatre, painting and jewellery from her parents, a blue collar worker and a dressmaker. «My life would be meaningless without art. – she confesses – I don’t need to set out to accomplish anything grand: after all, I am already living my dream ».


Translated by Daniela Marsala