Saturday, March 24, 2007


Milano. Giancarlo Montebello is a designer of body ornaments to the intelligentsia. I first met Giancarlo in the late 1960s at an art opening in Milan when I was a photographic stylist. At the time Giancarlo was producing jewels designed by artists, such as: Cesar, Sonia Delaunay, Lucio Fontana, Larry Rivers and Niki de Saint Phalle. I borrowed some for a photo shot with Oliviero Toscani, who was so happy with my choice of such beautiful objects, that I soon became his “in house stylist”. When I became a photographer and Giancarlo started to produce jewels or body ornaments as he prefers to call them, in the 1980s, I photographed his jewellery, inventing unusual techniques, lighting or compositions. We have had a lot of fun together. I am still “in love” with everything he designs, because I think we are on the same wave-length, though I am not as intellectual as he is. Giancarlo is inspired by everyday objects transforming them conceptually. His predilection for modules probably stems from his early training as an industrial designer, thus nurturing and augmenting his propensity for the invention of simple elements that can be constructed into myriad forms and functions by way of equally simple but highly versatile combinations. The chain mail bracelet above, from the Ornaments for Bradamante series, is his best seller, it is inspired by chain mail used in chivalric times as the garments of war, made in stainless steel mesh and gold with a snap button, it is a truly beautiful object.

Note: the module key chains. They were inspired by the chains worn by bikers in the 1960s. He has glamorized them, personalizing the chain design and by making them in stainless steel and 18K gold.
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