We may consider you a newcomer in fashion: who is Rocco Marras?
This is a very existential question. I don’t know, but that’s what is so good about it. It’s fun being totally able to reinvent yourself. I will find out along the way, and in particular next June, when I present my first collection for I’m Isola Marras. It is all new, when they ask me if I will follow in my father’s footsteps in terms of style, I say “absolutely no”.
I’d like to go into this, what kind of artistic and personal relationship do you have with him?
I was a difficult teenager, aged 13 to 18 I did not talk too much with my parents and Freud would not see anything strange in this. We grew much closer when I left home to study. I realized that “Anthony Martins” and I could become friends after my long stay abroad. When I went home for Christmas I found two whales, two giant installations on the lounge’s sofa: I was crazy about it. Probably a few months earlier I would have ignored the whole thing. Now we have a great relationship and when he asked me to design for I’m Isola Marras I said “Ok, let’s do it, but on one condition, that I can do whatever I like”.
Do you recall the exact day he named you creative director of I’m Isola Marras?
Yes, I was in New York, working as a photographer’s assistant and he called me on the phone, asking me to go back to Italy because he had to set up an exhibition at Milan’s Triennale di Milano with all his works. It was wonderful for me, at last after 25 years someone had taken notice of that “boy” not only for his clothes. When I came back he asked me to help him choose the textiles for Isola, that’s how it all started.
Can you give us a sneak peek of the 2017 collection?
I can only say that my mum’s worried (we laugh). Many say that compared to the previous one, that my father did, this looks like another line altogether, but I do not agree. It’s the result of all the influences from the places I visited. I started out with a small collection for men and there will be lots of sweatshirts. I have a different vision from his, I want to dress my girlfriends in miniskirts, I want them to be sexy, my father cannot stand that word.
Your father cannot stand the words ‘muse’ and ‘icon’ as well.
It’s true, he doesn’t like definitions, he doesn’t like to focus on something or someone. Also his runway shows are dedicated to the muse “of the moment”.
What is your muse “of the moment”?
My muses “of the moment” have always been my friends, I grew up with them, I love them and in most cases they are not in fashion, they do totally different things. I ask them and get very valuable advice.
If you cold dress only one person, who would that be?
I thought you would say “my mother”.
No, no, I love that “girl” but I’m fed up! (we laugh). Besides, she is worried because I am distancing myself from her taste, for instance I got rid of embroidery, (the distinctive feature of the brand under the previous direction). I am still thinking about your question, this morning on the radio someone was reading an excerpt from “Just Kids” the Patty Smith book. I would dress her. And Robert Mapplethorpe.
Two great artists. And you, what job you would never do?
Until a couple of months ago I would said: the fashion designer (we laugh).
Never say never, then?
Never say never, absolutely. Also because I started out working as a salesperson in Alghero, then at the showroom. There is nothing I wouldn’t try. I am not good at keeping accounts, but if someone explained me, I’d probably do it.
If you look back at your childhood, what comes to your mind?
My childhood was dominated by horse riding. From age 6 to 18, before going to London and Paris, I dedicated my life to show jumping. I had a horse, Desertica, who still walks around in the countryside in Sardinia. I would ride my horse from after school to the evening. I had these little girlfriends in first grade, I would tell them: “If we want to see each other, you have to come to the stables”.
On the subject of your love for your land, your father chose to stay in Alghero, but would you live in another city?
He is very different from me, as soon as I had the chance I left, not only Sardinia but any other city. In London I resisted 6 months, in Paris two years, in Tokyo 1 year. I’d like to live in Scandinavia or in Hong Kong, I cannot stay still. My base is Alghero anyway, I have all my old friends and travel from there.
And do you like all this?
I do, because it’s a very dynamic situation.
Is there something you don’t like, that makes you angry?
Wasting time, bureaucracy. The fact you have immediate things but a thousand steps to achieve them.
Your biggest dream, your biggest nightmare?
My biggest dream is to be happy. Until two years ago I was focused on photography, I graduated, I worked as an assistant to Mario Sorrenti and spend 24 hours a day on set, while today I head up I’m Isola Marras. My dream is also to be able to do everything. Like my father, who’s a designer, but also an artist, I hope I can be like that. My nightmare is being constrained in one place, impositions, like when they said I could not do away with the embroidery.
Somebody or something you could not live without?
Right now without my horse, Desertica.
Will you ever dedicate anything to your horse?
Last year when my father did the cowboy show, I shot the whole campaign at the stables with the horse. I don’t know if I would dedicate to the horse a collection because when you create you get many inspirations and change things along the way.
Describe yourself in three words.
I would need more words, we should ask someone who knows me well, like my parents, but they would be too corny.
Your first thought in the morning, the last before sleeping?
My first thought is “what do I have to do today?”, a mental checklist, a to-do list that is valid all weekdays, all weekends. The last one is what I’m doing tomorrow. The question I will never ask myself is definitely “What did you do today?”. Since I’m at the helm of the brand I’ve been very busy and people asked me to create something with me.
Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with?
I’d like to collaborate with someone that hails from the other side of the world, with a totally different vision from mine. I’d like to create an eyewear range, definitely.
You are in love with…?
I’m love with love (we laugh). I’m love with what I’m doing, I’m investing all my energies. I’m very lucky because my collaborators are on my side a hundred percent, they support me, I never feel lonely.
So we could say you are a little in love with the others…
Yes, I’m love with the others. A little bit less with myself, but definitely with the others.
NonostanteMarras – Via Cola di Rienzo 8, Milano
Photos by Luisa Pagani