Marco De Vincenzo by Giulia Ruberti

Giulia Ruberti draws out the source of Marco de Vincenzo's constant evolution.

Marco de Vincenzo’s story, as he admits, is something of a fairy tale. Born in Messina, Sicily, the Italian fashion designer has—since his last collection—rose to stardom, catching so much attention that in February LVMH invested in his brand, in addition to being a consultant for Fendi’s leather goods. For Document, Marco spoke with close friend, Giulia Ruberti, who lives and works in Paris at Gagosian Gallery, Le Bourget.

Giulia Roberti—Ciao Marco, as we’re doing this interview on the phone could you tell me where you are right now?

Marco de Vinenzo—Well…I just came back to Rome from the Marche (a region in Italy home of national leather manufacturers). I had an appointment there for the shoes of the upcoming collection. As soon as we hang up I have to run to a meeting at Fendi and tomorrow I’ll be going to Soncino (where Marco’s collection is produced) for the last part of the fitting of the S/S 15 collection I’ll present in September.

Giulia—Wow. Tight schedule. Is the collection coming together? How is it going?

Marco—Really well. I started working on it a little bit ahead of time so now I’m not too stressed. I don’t feel excessive pressure even though expectations are high this time. There is a big group backing me up and a lot of attention on me. People really like my story; it’s a sort of fairytale, a dream come true… Also my work team is changing and growing, so I feel less alone, and that helps, but at the same time I feel the necessity to exceed myself.

Giulia—Tell me something about the new collection.

Marco—It’s as if with each season I learn more about how to make clothes. You know most of my knowledge has come through practice! My background is leather goods and accessories… So my challenge for this collection—especially after the commercial success of the F/W 14 collection—is to keep working and experimenting with texture without losing the lightness of certain fabrics. I’m trying to achieve a light tri-dimensionality. Since last season a really good energy has accompanied me, I’ve felt positive vibes and this optimism is what I’m bringing to the new collection—colors, positivity… It’s happier and more playful than in the past. Also, as compared to previous collections, this one is slightly more romantic.

“I’ve allowed myself to be free, to create and do different things without excessively worrying over coherence. Today I’m very happy with this choice because I’ve avoided labels and categorizations.”

Giulia—You’ve mentioned texture. This is a recurrent theme in all of your collections.

Marco—Yes. Last season’s success has been a new and interesting feeling. After the show, I observed press and buyers trying out my clothes and this made me realize that I was receiving a new sort of attention. The fetishization and the obsessive research of textures that goes into my collections make of each piece of clothing an accessory. And realizing that these will be worn by a larger public has encouraged me to find a balance between my ideal and something not too constraining or suffocating. I’ve been dedicating a lot of time and thought to this.

Giulia —We’ve often talked about art and I know it influences your daily life. Has something in particular been inspiring you lately? Has an artist inspired this last collection?

Marco—I love art very dearly. And I’m dedicating always more time to it. But rarely do I approach a collection with a specific reference/ inspiration in mind. I’m like a sponge; I absorb very quickly what surrounds me. But it is only later in time that I realize how much an artist or something I’ve observed has affected me.

For example, someone defined last season’s mood as Sonia Delaunay going dancing with Ettore Sottsass. I loved this suggestion as I adore them both and I was surprised that someone was able to perceive it. Or other times I’ve been told that my creations reminded them of the work of a certain artist that I had no knowledge about! It may seem odd, but for now this way of creating works out for me. I don’t like to make choices from the start; it’s almost an inverted process.

Giulia—Are you concerned about being coherent in your collections?

All clothing Marco’s own

Marco—I’ve experimented a lot in the past. I’ve allowed myself to be free, create and do different things without excessively worrying over about. Today I’m very happy with this choice because I’ve avoided labels and categorizations. I know where I stand and it is very clear that there is an underlying vision connecting all of my collections. What defines me is infinite creativity and texture—two concepts wide enough for me to work with sufficient freedom.

Giulia—Your choice of working in Rome may as well appear a bit different.

Marco—You know I didn’t really decide to live in Rome. It happened. I moved here to study and then I immediately got the job at Fendi. As time went by I started working and travelling more and more, and Rome became the place I would come back to. I cherish my time in Rome; its stillness—which at times can be frustrating –  is actually what I need to recharge myself. Rome is where I stop and integrate what I’ve encountered in my travels.

Giulia—Last question, if you could pick a dream team, you can choose anyone, contemporary or not, who would you collaborate with?

Marco—Let me think… I always find it difficult to pick a favorite. My taste and preferences are in constant evolution; I’m always reading new books, listening to new music…My curiosity is almost child like—what I’m most attracted to is the unknown. So ideally I would always pick that which I still have to discover. This said there is one person I would have loved to meet and work with and that is Walt Disney. I have a great passion for old hand made cartoons and, in particular, I find Fantasia to be a creative masterpiece. Walt Disney had this capacity to create other extraordinary worlds solely through the power of his imagination. In everyday objects he could glimpse a magical quality that would open up other dimensions. I relate to this sense of imagination very closely. I often catch myself observing something quite mundane and being fascinated by it, finding a certain beauty in it or imagining it in a different way…Maybe this is the reason why I’m happy almost anywhere.

This conversation first appeared in Document’s Fall/Winter 2014 issue.