At 18, Puglisi left his northeastern Sicily home and headed to New York, eventually landing in Los Angeles, where he assisted photographer David LaChapelle and top L.A. stylist Arianne Phillips, who plugged him into what he calls “the global showbiz scene.” Specifically “a virtuous circle” creating costumes for Whitney Houston, Lil' Kim, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Kylie Minogue, not to mention Madonna's 2012 Super Bowl halftime show. Shaped by his Italian roots, Puglisi's aesthetic plays out in gladiator influences, architectural references, and hints of Mediterranean baroque. His current life figures, too, with celebratory nods to American pop culture. His irrepressible creativity has thrust the busy designer to fashion's front and center: Puglisi was hired in 2012 to recharge Emanuel Ungaro as the brand's artistic director. Last October, he presented his namesake collection with a debut runway show in Milan. Highlights include dresses and skirts, either buoyantly short or long and flowing, in an energetic palm-tree print, tough leather moto jackets, and pieces embellished with the designer's lavish gold-thread embroidery.