His work as a costume designer has roots in Halloween, as Raul Redaggio almost always created his own costumes for the annual October holiday, and they often included wings.
"My best friend and I were always doing photoshoots [in the Halloween outfits]. We would use the narrative from music videos, movies or literature as inspiration for this photography," Redaggio said. "What started out as a self-taught hobby became an obsession. Then Neverland Productions came along, and since I was already friends with the founders, we wanted to collaborate on a project. So I became one of their costume designers."
Redaggio grew up in a family of craftsmen and artisans. His motherwho is the principal and guiding influence in his work, he saidmolded decorative pieces and household items from clay. She made intricate and delicate flowers from fabric. She would make elaborate meals that would take hours to prepare.
"From a very young age, I have always had a deep appreciation of things made by hand," he said. "In addition, I have always been fascinated by Catholic iconography, particularly the life-size statues of angels and saints wearing these elaborate and intricate vestments and bejeweled crowns. Before fashion models, it was these saints and angels that got to wear couture first."
Redaggio said his daily work consists primarily of four stages: research, sourcing, execution and photoshoots.
"I do a lot of research on the Internet, which is a vast universe of ideas and images," he said. "I take inspiration from all kinds, [including] movies, paintings, music, major fashion designers, history [and more]. Once I have a design in mind, I source my materials. I spend a lot of time at hardware stores and resale consignment shops, looking for the right kind of materials to use. The execution phase can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several days. One time, I sat for 20 hours straight sewing and gluing feathers. I make everything by hand. And last, once I've created a costume piece, my friends and I do photo shoots to showcase my work."
Redaggio said his career goal is to work for a luxury fashion brand or a major couture house. "To work for Guo Pei or Maison LemariÃ©, whose sole purpose is to source and create breathtaking works of art from feathers for Chanel Couture, would be a dream come true," he said.
Redaggio said the best part of his job is simple: "Seeing people gasp with delight when they see my work for the first time," he said.
But there is a drawback to his work, too: "There is never enough time to complete a project," he said.
- Age: 29
- Neighborhood: Albany Park
- Background: Originally from Michoacan, Mexico; moved to Chicago 10 years ago.
- Relationship status: "Happily single"
- Hobbies: Oil painting
- Job title: Costume designer at Neverland Productions and owner of Redaggio, "my own eponymous brand."
- Favorite movie: A.I.
- Favorite TV show: Family Guy
- Favorite drink: Lychee martini
- Fashion sense: "Theatrical, exuberant, artisanalmeaning, creating couture from trash or found objects"
- Little-known fact: "I have a mild case of pteronphilia [arousal to being tickled by feathers]."