When in March 2003 the closing of Fiorucci’s flagship store in Milan’s Galleria Passarella was announced, it felt like an era was coming to an end. Elio Fiorucci was gone and had been replaced by the fast fashion colossus H&M. Some know Elio Fiorucci for his angels, some for his Love Therapy, for his animalistic positions or for his provocations, for his women’s naked breasts and hot pants, for having freed Milan’s fashion from haute couture. Some see him as a friend to the greatest Pop Artists, others as a pre-social media cool hunter, as an innovator and a trendsetter. “He is the master of us all,” Vivienne Westwood said.

He brought London’s swinging 60s to Milan, and Italian fashion to New York, introduced i-D’s Terry Jones to Madonna, who put her on the cover, and helped form the visual identity of New York queer disco underground. Elio Fiorucci made history.

Where does your creativity come from?

Certainly my artistic history started in my childhood. Nothing is written in life, or perhaps instead it’s all written? I believe we already have a script and then we have decisions to take, impulses and choices.

I was born on June 10, 1935, in an unlucky period for the human race, because a few years later World War II would break out. After a bombing in Milan, my parents and I fled from the city. We feared the world would end. I owe it all to the good sense of my family. We went to live with an aunt in the countryside close to Lake Como—I found a heaven on earth there. Back then, schoolmasters were very strict and I didn’t like this attitude at all. Unlike my brother, I loved nature, animals, and spent most of my time living inside my head, creating my own stories. Everything surprised me. I looked at the simplest things with passion, the way children do. As a child it was clear to me that we are all animals and that the cycle of life applies to everyone in the same way. I chose to think for myself, refusing any external help and questioning the mysteries of life. Religions can’t offer you a solution but they can guide you—but my family did not have faith. In the countryside, I found my creative seed.

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