Free­dom and cre­ativ­ity

L’Officiel Middle East (English) - - Contents - By Mélody Thomas

How to take over the helms of one of the most in­flu­en­tial fash­ion houses of the last twenty years? Lead­ing the cre­ative depart­ment at Marni since less than a year, Francesco Risso is work­ing to re­de­fine Ital­ian fem­i­nin­ity.

When Con­suelo Castiglioni an­nounced her de­par­ture from Marni - the fash­ion house she founded in 1994 with her hus­band - the sur­prise was great. So who will re­place her? In Oc­to­ber 2016, the name of Francesco Risso comes out of the hat. Of him, we know lit­tle, ex­cept that he stud­ied at the Polimoda in Flo­rence be­fore go­ing to the Fash­ion In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy in New York and fin­ish­ing his stud­ies at Cen­tral Saint Martins in Lon­don. Anna Moli­nari, Alessan­dro Dell’ac­qua, Malo and Prada where the Ital­ian houses where he starte his ca­reer be­fore be­com­ing cre­ative di­rec­tor at Marni. For him “Marni is more than a brand; it’s an in­cred­i­ble uni­verse that rep­re­sents an in­fi­nite num­ber of pos­si­bil­i­ties.” “What fas­ci­nates me the most is the in­de­pen­dence in the free­dom of ap­proach that goes far be­yond fash­ion. Be­ing a cre­ative di­rec­tor is an ex­cit­ing chal­lenge. I have been a cus­tomer of the brand since its in­cep­tion and I have al­ways loved that par­tic­u­lar vi­sion of fash­ion, the cre­ative pur­suit be­hind ev­ery col­lec­tion. Hav­ing the chance to en­ter this mul­ti­ple world and con­trib­ute, through my work, to make it evolve is what in­spires me on a daily ba­sis.” Free­dom is a theme that will be re­cur­rent in our con­ver­sa­tion. At 33, this cos­mopoli­tan Ge­noese, who since child­hood, has scoured Asia and the Car­ib­bean along­side his par­ents, and be­lieves that in­de­pen­dence is essen­tial for any­one tak­ing over the reins of a fash­ion house. “When you’re a cre­ative per­son, the most pre­cious trea­sure you have is the free­dom to get your own mes­sage across. For my part, I have al­ways lis­tened to my in­stinct, my emo­tions and my in­tu­itions. I am very ob­ser­vant; I an­a­lyze what sur­rounds me, and in­te­grat­ing a rec­og­nized brand re­quires re­spect for its tra­di­tions, but also the courage to as­sert one’s per­sonal style in an in­no­va­tive way.” And he has been suc­cess­fully en­gaged from the out­set col­lec­tions that he pre­sented dur­ing the fash­ion week of Mi­lan for men in Jan­u­ary and women in Fe­bru­ary. “On my first day at Marni, I felt a mix­ture of ex­cite­ment, fear, but also en­thu­si­asm. I was fac­ing sev­eral chal­lenges and the first was time. I ar­rived in Oc­to­ber and I had to in­tro­duce the men’s col­lec­tion in Jan­u­ary, it was com­pletely crazy.” A month later, he de­liv­ers a bold women’s col­lec­tion, avant­garde and res­o­lutely mod­ern. Coats with rounded vol­umes, flo­ral prints and psy­che­delic de­signs evoke as much the 1970s as the Ital­ian woman in its el­e­gance and fem­i­nin­ity. When asked who the Marni woman is and how he sees her evolv­ing, he sim­ply says, “I do not be­lieve in cat­e­gories. Fem­i­nin­ity is an at­ti­tude, a charm­ing mix of sen­si­tiv­ity, per­son­al­ity, self-con­fi­dence and nat­u­ral el­e­gance.”

On the left, Francesco Risso. Op­po­site, a look from Marni’s Fall / Win­ter 2017/18 show.

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