When Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills invited me to interview designer Antonio Marras, I was thrilled by the opportunity but knew little of the Italian born designer, so I set to the net. Well, as wonderful as the internet is, the material sourced paled in comparison to my meeting with Marras and his wife and muse Patrizia. Here’s the result of our conversation while previewing his Spring/Summer 2013 collection, exclusively sold in-stores in the US at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Hallman: Tell me about your inspiration for Spring/Summer 2013?
Marras: My Spring/Summer collection was inspired by American born artist and writer Henry Darger. I discovered his work at an exhibition in New York at MoMA PS1. I found his colors and drawing of flowers and butterflies in his story ‘Vivian Girls’ to be astonishing. So I decided to transform his drawing into special prints for my Spring/Summer collection.
Hallman: You have a family history with textiles and fabrics. How important is selecting the right fabrics to you?
Marras: Yes, for me fabrics are very important. As a young child I grew up learning about fabric and textile in my father’s boutique. With this collection there are limited edition pieces, were I mixed older fabrics with new ones, so each piece is different and unique.
Hallman: Your Spring/Summer collection is very feminine yet has a little edge. Is that how you would describe your ‘Vivian Girl’?
Marras: Yes I do see her as a young woman with edge and style. As part of this collection I did a special collaboration with Swarovski using crystals to enhance the fabrics and prints to give it a feminine mix with edge. For me, I hate when everything looks perfect. I love when my collections have an unsuspected surprise.
Hallman: Tell me about the accessories for the collection?
Marras: For me the accessories are very important in telling the story. They need to have the same spirit and detail as the clothing. For the collection there is on bag that has the silhouette like a doctors bag, which is presented in several different print designs.
Hallman: Some have called your ready-to-wear couture. Can we expect to see a couture collection anytime soon?
Marras: I hope in the future to present a couture collection. Last summer I did a special project with my boutique in Kuwait City where I created, ten special couture dresses for my VIP clients. I love creating couture pieces because it allows me more creative and artistic freedom than commercial design. I’m also an artist by craft and I love to draw. My Milano boutique not only sells my designs but also has works of special collaborations that I’ve done with other artists. It’s like a gallery or concept boutique.
Hallman: Could we possibly see a menswear collection in the future?
Marras: I have a project in the works but I don’t want to jinx it at this time. Lets just say I’m thinking about revisiting menswear design.
Hallman: Any plans to open a US boutique?
Marras: Yes, but for now I’m concentrating on building the business and expanding the accessories collection. I’m Italian so I like to dream big, but for now no immediate plans to open a US boutique at this time. www.s5a.com