Marco De Vincenzo: "Creativity is what must be defended above all"
With a conceptual style that is both highly personal and innovative, Marco De Vincenzo, 37, has more than ever established himself as one of today's most interesting designers. De Vincenzo hails from the Italian region of Sicily, and has been working for more than 15 years with the Fendi fashion label, for whom he is head designer of leather goods. In parallel, he launched his own brand of women's luxury ready-to-wear fashion in 2009, of which the LVMH group owns a 45% share since 2012.
The designer will be the guest of honour at Florence's Pitti Uomo show, and plans a special performance for Thursday 14th January at Florence's oldest theatre, the Teatro Niccolini, which will reopen after 20 years. It is an opportunity for the designer to make a first assessment of his career, while revealing his forthcoming projects, such as the launch of an accessories line in February.
FashionMag: Which type of event are you planning for Pitti Uomo, where you are one of the guests of honour this season?
Marco De Vincenzo: The event I'm organising for Pitti Uomo on 14th January is a way of examining in depth my connection with art. Fashion needs art, and opportunities such as these are just what designers are waiting for, to nourish their styling codes using a different kind of language.
FM: How do you organise your work, and especially how do you manage to wear two professional hats, for your own label and for Fendi?
MDV: My days are indeed full and very complicated! I work between Rome, where Fendi is based, and Milan, since my label's main manufacturers are located in northern Italy. My own ready-to-wear line was born after 10 years of collaboration with Fendi, for whom I still act as designer in charge of leather goods. Such long experience taught me to organise myself freely and autonomously, in a spirit of complete trust, finding the right balance.
FM: At what stage are you at with your own brand and company, which was created in 2009 and transformed into a joint venture in 2012?
MDV: Marco De Vincenzo Llc is a partnership between myself and LVMH, which owns a 45% share. There are about 10 people working on this project, while distribution and part of the company's communications are outsourced to external agencies. Nowadays, the brand is available in nearly 80 multi-brand stores worldwide. The brand is growing rapidly, following an expansion strategy decided upon by the shareholders for the next four years.
FM: Does the close presence of a major group like LVMH limit the scope of your activities?
MDV: I enjoy complete freedom, also since my brand is one of the group's youngest. Resources are growing. Yet, from time to time, we play it by ear, seeking to endow the project with the skills that are most suitable. In a way, we try to make everything in a bespoke fashion.
FM: How do you see the profession evolving?
MDV: The market is unpredictable. Of course you have to listen to it, but without becoming its victim. In the end, creativity is what must be defended above all. You have to give yourself time to be understood. Ideas are often assimilated by others with a time lag relative to when they have been conceived. A young brand is more fragile, but also freer from pressures.
FM: Have you felt frustrated at times?
MDV: When you create and develop a brand, each phase is marked by victories and disappointments. It is important to clearly focus your objectives and never lose sight of them. This may sound easy, but it's not the case at all: we know that our work can benefit from many people's opinions, which at the same time may cause our beliefs to falter…
FM: What do you think about all the great designers who have chosen to throw in the towel, either by closing down their own label, such as Kris van Assche, or by leaving a prestigious creative director's post such as Raf Simons at Dior?
MDV: In Raf Simons' case, I think it was possible to foresee the rift. Such radical choices are a sign that the fashion business’ rhythms are speeding up. I have discussed this with other designers, and we all agree on one thing: we wish we could have a little more time to conceive our collections. The schedule is beginning to feel oppressive.
FM: What is your assessment of the system?
MDV: It's hard to assess, and to forecast how it will evolve. One thing is certain: the system is open to different kinds of projects. Standardisation will have no place in the future.
FM: What are your brand's future projects?
MDV: We will launch an accessories line in February. This will be a key step for me, given my long-standing experience in leather goods.
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