Rocco Barocco is Neapolitan by birth, his mother from Pozzuoli, his father from Naples, and his origins in this ancient capital is a constant source of delight and pride. He was raised in Ischia, went to school in Procida and lived in a villa in Capri right in front of the island’s reefs. He has a mocking, fatalistic nature, it is impossible for him to take things seriously, and he detests people with too high of an opinion of themselves. Willing to do anything for a laugh he always has a ready quip.
As a youth, he worked for Filippo, the best-known boutique on the island of Ischia and became besotted with vacationing stars, from Gianna Maria Canale to Miriam Blu, from Maria Callas to Anna Magnani, all of whom had high praise for the sketches in his notebook. The sacred fire of fashion was burning in his soul and he left his beloved Ischia for the capital. That was in the summer of 1966. Fashion shows were still being held in Palazzo Pitti in Florence but Rome was the capital of Fashion: Schubert, Forquet, Cappucci, Fagiani, Irene Galitzine, and the Fontana sisters all lived and worked in the Eternal City. He started working at the atelier of Monsier Gilles and that is where he created Barocco. The adventure had begun. Ever since the name of Rocco Barocco appeared in the world of fashion, the designer’s shows that offered an image of woman not always in line with the times. He attempts to break away from the clichés of the day and the prevailing slogans. Though never dogmatic, he continuously studies ways of proposing a real form of eternal femininity, with painstaking care and a consistency far from superficial.
This is clearly visible when his collection is based on a primary idea, when some lucky keen insight is the key to understanding his creations: when, for instance, he is directly inspired by art or one of his many travels. His first customers included Countess Claretta Agusta. She was followed by other women from Rome’s rich, discriminating aristocratic class and numerous actresses: Laura Antonelli, Claudia Cardinale, Stefania Sandrelli, Ursula Andress, Sandra Milo, Dalila Di Lazzaro, and Marisa Laurito. Liza Mannelli became a friend as well as a customer and soon acted as fashion ambassador of Rocco Barocco creations in the United States.
Rocco Barocco has always had a distinctive ideal of what a woman should be. She is a woman who embodies and glorifies seduction. The Rocco Barocco woman knows how to be sexy with a touch of humor, a woman who enjoys turning on her charm and loves the harmony of her forms: lovely shoulders, a marked waistline, a bosom in proportion with the rest of her body.
Licensing has allowed him to develop a highly successful clothing business but the center of this universe is a man who stubbornly sticks to the details of his craft. From that point of view, the years have not passed, nor will they ever. The human dimension of the mature man and successful designer remains that of an enthralled by making solitary sketches wherever he is, in reality or in dreams.
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