‎ŻfinMalta National Dance Company blog Alessandro Vigilante Geographers of Solitude

Alessandro Vigilante: A hymn to freedom of movement

ON THE 24th, 25th AND 26th May 2024, ŻFINMALTA, in a co-production with Ballet d’Jérri, PREMIERES ‘Geographers of Solitude’ BY PAOLO MANGIOLA, AT Teatru Manoel, Valletta.

Paolo Mangiola’s exquisite and beautifully layered work is divided into two parts. Inspired by the Arctic Tern and its remarkable migration route, the dancers travel southward around the globe before returning home, revisiting the same locations as their original descent, but through the lens of nature. Paolo invited Alessandro Vigilante to bring this creative vision to life, and he eagerly joined the project, adding to an extraordinary line-up of artistic collaborators that are bound to mesmerise audiences this weekend at Teatru Manoel.

We caught up with Alessandro Vigilante, for some insight into his stunning work for this ŻfinMalta co-production with Ballet d’Jèrri, and how this was a collaboration that was meant to be. 
I worked thinking of the dancers’ bodies as if they were birds: all individual and unique...yet united by a special shade somewhere between red and blue.
ALESSANDRO VIGILANTE_SS24_15.09.2023_03_0207 Geographers of Solitude ŻfinMalta National Dance Company
Photograph by Simone Cossettini
Tell us briefly about yourself and your current work/career.  

After working for 15 in the creative teams of major brands such as Dolce&Gabbana, Gucci, Philosophy and The Attico, I decided to create my own eponymous brand, Alessandro Vigilante, to express my personal vision. For the past year, I have been the creative director of a prestigious French brand, Rochas, which next year will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

‎Alessandro Vigilante for ŻfinMalta National Dance Company Geographers of Solitude
Photographs by Simone Cossettini
Can you share your initial inspiration behind the costume designs?

The first step in designing the costumes for ‘Geographer for Solitude’ was to meet choreographer Paolo Mangiola, who was very familiar with the work I was doing with my brand. Paolo explained the project to me and the ideas for the costumes came to me spontaneously. I worked thinking of the dancers’ bodies as if they were birds, and loved the idea of dressing them in second-skin costumes, all individual and unique by means of the varying shaped graphic cut-outs, yet all united by a special shade somewhere between red and blue.

“I’ve known Alessandro Vigilante’s work for many years now, I’ve been following him since the very beginning since he started designing. He was actually a dancer, he studied dance, in fact you can see in his work in the way he creates dresses, the way he thinks about fabric and movement.”

Paolo Mangiola

‎Alessandro Vigilante for Żfinmalta National Dance Company male sketch print
Were there any specific challenges you faced in designing costumes for a dance production, compared to other projects?

Designing costumes for dancers is really easy for me as I was a professional dancer until the age of 23. Dance continues to be my greatest source of inspiration.  At the same time, the final goal of my brand is to create a perfect blend of fashion and dance.


The most important thing when designing costumes for a dance performance is to serve the story that the choreographer and director wants to tell. Costumes have the task of helping to convey that message, and provide further clarity. When designing costumes for dancers, you cannot help but think about the fact that they must be extremely comfortable to allow all types of movement.

‎Geographers of Solitude ŻfinMalta National Dance Company Blog Alessandro Vigilante
Photograph by Camille Fenech

The most important design elements of the costumes are:

–  The special red and blue shaded print that becomes a second skin on the dancers’ bodies
–  The graphic cut-outs (the hallmark of the Alessandro Vigilante brand)
–  The fit, which is a hymn to freedom, and to freedom of movement

Watch James Vernon’s trailer for ‘Geographers of Solitude’