Candela Novembre met the designer Antonio Marras during men’s fashion week in Milan, following his return with his menswear collection. He told RedMilk why he had taken this decision, and his plans for his brand

redmilk_marras_imgWhat is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I look to see what time it is. I don’t have a clock so I check it on my mobile phone. I have a rather bizarre sleep pattern: I wake up at unthinkable times and I check the time immediately to see if I can get up and start the day, or if it’s really too early and I have to try to go back to sleep again. Then I look at Patrizia, who is sleeping beside me.


When was the last time you were moved by something, and why?
Well, a little, yesterday evening, during the fashion show. We had chosen a very particular concerto for sewing machines as the music during the show but, at a certain point the song “Granada”, sung by Claudio Villa, came on, which had nothing to do with the music of the show. It was my father’s favourite song, and this collection was a tribute to him. It was the song he used to sing when he was at home, cooking. I think it was the musical score to the love story between him and my mother.  She was also present yesterday evening and she was very moved, very upset, poor lady. So, when I heard the start of Granada I felt a lump in my throat…but I soon recovered.  Also, we were all really touched yesterday: after three years Marras menswear had returned. Why had I stopped designing it? At that time I was the creative director of the Parisian maison, Kenzo, and I had some commitments that took up a lot of my time. At a certain point, the moment came to make a choice and I had to decide to shelve the menswear, with great regret.

Is there anything in particular that led you to redesign the line?
It was the meeting with a company, Rgm of Brescia, who embraced this project, producing clothes just as I liked them, and trying to understand what I would have wanted to have in my wardrobe. There was complete accord, also with Pantofola D’oro regarding the shoes and bags. Let’s say, a series of pleasant meetings that helped to give new life to Marras menswear.

In your work, what do you manage to do most easily?
I would probably manage to do everything easily, but I tend to complicate things. This is my perversity at work. Whereas, the part I like best is choosing the fabrics. I usually start from the prints, from the theme, from looking for a story, because, for me, every fashion show is a story. Starting from this, you begin to assemble and to build what will then be the final result, but it is through this process that I manage to communicate the project that is in my head.

On the other hand, what is the part you find most difficult to do?
When I’m asked how much this or that piece would cost. I don’t know, and I probably wouldn’t want to know. It’s not very interesting and it’s something that I wouldn’t want to do, even though I know it has to be done.

What comes to mind if I say “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte”?
My very first collection. I approached this world with absolute temerity, not having specifically studied fashion, or done anything that would prepare me for developing a collection, apart from working in my father’s tailoring shop, amusing myself amongst the fabrics and the clothes. “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte” is the title of a Robert Aldrich film: It was simply a tribute to the cinema, which is one of my great passions, and above to Bette Davis, one of my favourite women. A tribute made up of clothes, believing that this adventure would finish there. Whereas, casually, it was the start of all the rest.

Of all your collections, each very poetic and different to the others, is there one that you remember in particular, or that is close to your heart?
Unexpectedly, now that I see you, I remember one in which you were also modelling: the mattress show. It was a very particular event: we shocked the fashion show. The catwalk was completely covered with mattresses and there were also cushions and beds everywhere. And then, the first two items of clothing to be shown were inspired by Kenzo. In fact, I had taken some floral prints from clothing in one of his collections. It was very special, also because the following season I was called to design precisely for Kenzo.

If you had the ability to learn anything in one minute, what would you choose?
I’d like to learn all the languages in the world, so that I could communicate easily with anyone I meet.

When you design for women, what quality do you want to emphasise?
Her femininity. It’s what drives you to discover what there is beneath the surface. I don’t care for beauty that is showy, loud, that shouts at you. I prefer to try and discover what a woman is not showing.

And when you design for men, on the other hand?
I’m interested in emphasising a reassuring and calm aspect. We men assimilate change slowly and gradually while you women have an instinctive approach, you are adroit at dealing with sudden changes. My menswear wardrobe must be filled with things that can be worn always, even though they are distinctive with regard to their shapes, volumes and fabrics.

If you were a word today, which one would you be?