Here in an exclusive interview, accompanied by an Antidote Magazine photo shoot of the Marni Menswear Spring 2016 collection, Castiglioni opens up about her menswear, the « see now, buy now » phenomenon and her favorite guilty pleasure.
Consuelo Castiglioni is not a fan of interviews. She prefers to let her distinctive artistic designs, filled with bombastic prints, bold embellishments, sculptural shapes and unique color palettes, speak for themselves. But after six years of presenting her menswear collections to the world via look books and small presentations she returned her man to the Milan catwalk with her Spring 2016 lineup. The shift in tactics has emboldened the usually taciturn designer to speak up about her man and why he seems to be more faithful to her than, perhaps, her women.
ANTIDOTE. How would you describe the Marni man. Who is he?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. According to the general Marni vision, the Marni man has a strong personality and sensitivity. He likes experimenting and he is attentive to details. You can talk about eccentricity, but it is a “normal” eccentricity.
ANTIDOTE. What made you decide it was time to put your menswear on the catwalk after years of presentations?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. Marni men is growing stronger and stronger and we are working to offer a complete and wider collection of ready-to-wear and accessories. We felt the need to see the collections “coming alive” expressing them as a whole (space, music, cloths in motion…).
ANTIDOTE. What goals have you set out for yourself for the menswear line?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. I imagine the Marni Man and Woman coming from the same world, free spirited elegant, fun and humorous (a person who understands our eccentric luxury). For this reason my goal is to develop this idea along with Women’s collections. Marni menswear is always more appreciated by customers and what I see is that men are fond of the whole aesthetic. Women can fall in love with a particular bag, or some shoes, but our male costumer dig the complete image of Marni Men.
« Women can fall in love with a particular bag, or some shoes, but our male costumer dig the complete image of Marni Men. »
ANTIDOTE. Do you think the « See now, Buy now » form of production is the future or do you think making people wait is an important part of the creative process?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. Like everything, the “See now, Buy now” has a double face, positive and negative. It is certainly great being able to shop immediately what you see, a new rush which is always exciting and gives you an immediate perspect of what you have created. On the other hand, I’ve always seen fashion as a form of art. A “See now, Buy now” show, more than a presentation of creativity, is a marketing move. It is not about making people waiting, but about giving time to understand the idea, getting into the aesthetic and building an opinion. It takes time to fully appreciate a collection.
ANTIDOTE. How do you work, what is your process?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. My approach when I design a collection is instinctive, I am inspired by many things that surround me, nature, art, different cultures, life itself is inspiring… My starting point most often is the research of a fabric or a material. I am fascinated by the effect of different textures. Also colors and prints are central to my work.
ANTIDOTE. What does fashion represent for you?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. I see fashion as one of the most important and efficient way to convey each’s own personality. I don’t like narrow borders, nor I like impositions. Fashion in my vision is a range of possibilities for people to choose from, not a diktat. This is how I conceived Marni.
ANTIDOTE. What do you do to get away from fashion?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. I have a house in Formentera, which is my little portion of Paradise. When I’m there work is completely out of my mind and my main concern is taking care of myself and of course of my family, who is always with me.
ANTIDOTE. When and where are you at your happiest?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. No doubt about this: when I spend time with my three beautiful nephews, which I try to do as much as I can.
ANTIDOTE. If there was one thing you could change about the fashion industry what would it be?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. The stressful routine!
ANTIDOTE. What is the best piece of advice you ever got?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. The one I have been giving to my son and daughter since they were kids: always use your brain and never get influenced by what others are doing.
« I see fashion as one of the most important and efficient way to convey each’s own personality. »
ANTIDOTE. What do you to when you want to treat yourself?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. I like spending time in nature or, when I travel, I love to indulge in little galleries, or vintage shops, to seek for inspirations. But most of all I am relaxed at the fullest when I’m home, with my family…maybe eating a generous piece of Belgian Chocolate, which is my guilty pleasure!
ANTIDOTE. Do you read the reviews of your shows? Are they important for you?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. I do. I am not like getting up at 5 am to go to the newsstand, but of course I want to see if my vision has been appreciated and most of all understood. Nevertheless, I have to say that after the show is done, I completely release myself and let it go, it is what it is…and then I immediately get back at work for the next one.
ANTIDOTE. For you what is the definition of freedom?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. Being able to express your own personality and individuality, careless of other people thoughts.
ANTIDOTE. When you look back on all you have already created with Marni so far how do you feel? Anything you wish you had done differently?
CONSUELO CASTIGLIONI. I would not have expected what Marni is now, I am very happy about it. Since the beginning we were well received by press and buyers, it was a natural evolution. Anyway my vision has not changed: core elements of Marni were there right at the beginning, such as the experimentation, avant-garde, the taste for prints and colors. Of course when we started everything was easier, we had one collection per year, I had much more time for myself and my family than I have now. Even though, looking at what Marni has became today, I would not change a thing.