Freedom and creativity
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.