The new frontier of textiles
The Belumbury Fashion Group, which recently debuted the brand Au197Sm, aims, among other things, to insert the use of new technologies into fashion. With an international patent for the only stable isotope of gold, it created a new textile, managing to fuse 24-carat gold with fabric. What was born is something truly new and precious, but at the same time technological and therefore extremely adaptable; it can be used to interpret various styles and can also be made using other precious metals such as platinum, as well as rose gold and white gold. A tested and verified encounter with the finest fibres, that is open to an infinite range of colours, from monochromes to tonal, from prints to jacquards and to an equally infinite breadth of styles, from haute couture to street style. A sort of golden revolution that hasn’t faded in the space of a season, but which is now available on the market, with all its incredible creative potential.
More an inventor than an entrepreneur
Stefano Maccagnani is especially interested in the new, in what doesn’t yet exist, in identifying a demand, in meeting a need, in intuiting the product that will be. It is the project that motivates him, the incubation of an idea, and then its progressive development and definition, until it becomes an actual concrete thing. To do this he traverses different fields without prejudice, without preconceptions, guided by his intuition and supported by a team of people who for years have shared the same way of proceeding, the same interdisciplinary approach. Qualified professionals, engineers, computer engineers, designers, who decided to abandon the certainty of the familiar, of what’s already been done, of the existing in order to push past the normal boundary, be it for a product, a technology, a material. Never take anything for granted and fire up the imagination to then study the solution, together, in a spirit of teamwork perfected by years of practice and by the many projects completed as a team. Born in Turin but adopted by Rome, it is here that his professional life began in the information technology, finance and mechanical fields, opening up to include international experiences too, from defence to mechanics. In 2002 he manifested his concept of interdisciplinary innovation founding E.O.S. Spa, a holding that brings together a series of companies that operate in different sectors: mechanical, electrical, automotive and biomedical. Among other things, they are working on a project to build an electric car, including coming up with a prototype and perfecting a body that can serve as the basis for various models.
“The impetus is so much stronger when there’s the emotional part, nothing drives you more than the human factor”.
Intuitive curiosity, enthusiasm, the desire to invent and a commitment to research oriented towards the development of new businesses is what motivates him.
And from this comes the collaboration with the University of Camerino, from which he received an honorary degree, with the University of Bologna, and with the DIAEE (Department of Astronautical, Electrical and Energy Engineering) at La Sapienza University in Rome. One of the most ambitious milestones they have achieved is in the biomedical sector: the Phoenix exoskeleton, a motorized prosthesis that allows paraplegics to move around independently, but also supports parts of the body doing heavy duty tasks. And also with the University of Camerino, they have kicked off the Limix project, a spin-off that tackles the problems faced by people with hearing impairments. The first outcome is a ‘Talking Hands’ glove that, through a sophisticated system, gives voice to signs.
In 2016 his curiosity – mindful of when, as a child, he would make his own swimsuit every summer – led him to incorporate fashion into the mix too with the launch of the Belumbury Fashion Group which will lead projects with the same revolutionary spirit and with the same brand new approach. With the debut of Au197Sm a new signature is born: 24-carat gold and precious metals are fused with fabric, through a process patented at an international level.
Luxury-tech that transcends the conventional approach and replaces the sewing machine with ultrasounds, the first chapter in a new era: Couture Technology.
Paola Emilia Monachesi, creative director of Au197Sm, the company that belongs to the Belumbury Fashion Group, shares with its president, Stefano Maccagnani, the same desire to move “beyond”, the same allergy to the banal, for the ‘already done’ and for the ‘already seen’.
Boasting an extremely strong background in fashion – she has always product-focused – and a willingness not to limit herself to pre-established roles, she has always been a versatile figure able to move between marketing, creativity and communication. A decidedly modern interdisciplinarity that now allows her to have a completely brand new vision. Behind her are studies at IULM, formative years with Gianni and Santo Versace, a Parisian experience with Marithe + François Girbaud, time at Pucci and collaborations with Japanese brands, in front of her the desire and the awareness of going ‘beyond’, of tracing a sort of postfashion that takes different paths and not just as a final result.
The debut was explosive and christened the line: Au197 is the chemical symbol of the only stable isotope of gold. In practice, the possibility to create a brand new textile, born of the inseparable union between 24-carat gold, and possibly other precious metals, with fibres. In practice a fabric that didn’t exist, with special effects, that opens up a new path: Luxury hi-tech fashion. Allergic to definitions, driven by a ceaseless enthusiasm and by the urgency of an anti-conformist kind of creativity, Paola Emilia Monachesi coordinates what, more than a series of collections, is a project. No sketches, models, drawings, everything starts from the invention of the materials, through resins that, combined in different ways, create different effects and textures. A sort of alchemy, a lab that straddles the hand-crafted and the technological, where a team of young people experiment with nanotechnologies, biodegradable plastics, ultrasounds that unite without sewing, nets, lenses for night vision goggles, aluminium, precious metals and polyethylenes until they arrive at the finished garment.
‘We have changed the process, we no longer start with paper to then move on to models and arrive at the prototype, here the final garment comes out of nowhere, we create the material and we give it style and shape, following brand new steps, like a technology sculptor who draws upon different computer, engineering and technological resources.’ Fully immersing oneself in the product, with only the desire to experiment, this is what drives the product and logistics laboratory in Rome, a sort of Advanced Couture where they cut, they paste, they print, they invent, they give shape to their intuitions, availing themselves even of important collaborations like the one with a haute couture embroidery centre in New Delhi. Am unusual kind of creativity that has, as its only condition, that of being wearable.