My Story...

mother and aunt working in the factory in Boston, Massachusetts, seamstress, sample maker, factory workerI come from a very talented family of a long line of artists and designers. I knew since I was a very young child that someday I would follow in the footsteps of my Mother, a sample maker for a Boston fashion designer, and my Grandmother Rosina, who presented to the Vatican in Rome, Italy the Christening gown she handmade for the baby Jesus. Both women have since passed on but are still a huge inspiration for me.

Massachusetts college of art and design Lord & Taylor Dress Design Scholarship Award, NYC store front

It was at Massachusetts College of Art and Design where I had received my formal training and was recognized for my talents. I was the recipient of numerous awards of distinction such as; the Massachusetts College of Art and Design Award for Excellence in Design, the Lord & Taylor Dress Design Competition Scholarship Award, and an internship with Leslie Fay in New York City.

boston designers collaboration, boston massachusetts, fashion show, red wool crepe dress with austrian crystal beads

 

In 1991, I had made my professional debut at The Boston Designers Collaborative Press Expo Fashion Show, showcasing my collection which ranged from swimwear and sportswear, to evening wear and wedding gowns. Boston's leading fashion designer and BDC founder, Geoffrey B. Small reviewed my collection as, "very hip...very original, slick and elegant....tutto Perfetto!" comparing my work to the likes of Romeo Gigli, Blass, and Moschino.
lisa with her harley wearing one of  her original suede halter top designs

My passion for leather emerged from my passion for riding when I had accomplished a life long dream and received my motorcycle endorsement in 2004. I wanted something to wear to motorcycle events and rallies so I purchased a leather hide or two, designed a few pieces and wore them never anticipating the attention I would receive. Both women and men stopped me to ask where I had purchased what I was wearing. That is where the idea for Sexy Skins Leather was born. I saw a need for sensual leather clothing that was also sophisticated and classy and not the typical biker chick stuff hanging on the racks. I immediately began designing leather apparel and accessories geared toward women in the biker world.

Soon after the birth of Sexy Skins, I had encountered one life altering event after another which sent me on a private journey where a deeper spiritual awakening and a total reinvention of self and soul took place. This was a pivotal time in my life, as a person and as an artist - I gave myself and my soul permission to explore. This freedom brought to the surface a buried childhood memory of a curiosity I had for the continent of Africa. I began to study Africa's culture, eventually focusing on the Nuer tribe after befriending one of its members. This has had an enormous affect in my personal life and in my art; the creation of my latest pieces are the result of  this exploration and journey into a culture which I am now passionate about.

magic dick from the j. geils band with designer lisa cantalupo back stage after a concert


It's quite an honor to share that some of my custom work can be seen on stage, television, and on the big screen on clients such as; Magic Dick from the legendary J. Geils Band who wore the jacket I designed and created for him (seen  in this photo) in the Adam Sandler Movie, "Grown Ups 2", and on celebrity motorcycle and exotic car builder, Alan Lee who wore one of three jackets I had created for him on the television show, "The Chopper Challenge".

When I had first begun my Sexy Skins journey, I would have felt this to be a great accomplishment, and in a way it is. However, my values have evolved as I have, and my dreams are bigger - they go beyond what one can imagine and are always guided by the light - the "who" is wearing my designs means little compared to how much I enjoy personally connecting with the many who wear my creations.

I do hope you stay tune to see how the story unravels as I, and my art, continue to blossom.

 

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