Magliano is the Milanese brand who’s ascension into the global fashion scene was nothing short of rapid. Launched in 2016, winning the Vogue Italia “Who is on Next?” competition the year after, to blockbuster shows, Magliano confronts philosophy, subcultures and niche aesthetics in its design.
Entrenched in Luca Magliano’s eponymous label’s identity is the late 20th century gay subculture in Bologna, as well as more traditional Italian Provincia rituals and influences. Off the back of Magliano’s SS23 show in Milan, we caught up with Luca to talk it through.
Let’s start at the beginning – how did you get started in fashion?
After high school I started studying with the architect Barbara Nerozzi. I owe her a lot of the person that I am now and my beginning as a fashion designer. I haven’t always been a designer: initially I was working in other positions that were not related to design at all. I started my own brand because I didn’t know what else to do, in the sense that I felt there was nothing that represented my idea of clothing, so I created my own. Initially it was more like a side project, then, when I won Vogue’s “Who’s on Next” in 2017, it became a more concrete project.
Magliano is described as ‘messing with the wardrobe fundamentals’ which is an interesting statement. Can you speak a bit more about this?
From the beginning we wanted this motto to guide our work. Magliano is not about inventing, is about re-editing great classics through a some sort of analogical process that involves irony. It evokes chaos and, somehow, rage, which is vital. Finally, the word wardrobe talks of an intimate place.
The SS23 collection utilised neutral colour palettes and distression in design, as well as playing on marked pop motifs like the classic souvenir ‘I <3…’ t-shirts. Can you speak a bit more about the inspiration behind these design choices?
We needed the character of the show to look like they had spent the whole night in those clothes. Regarding the colours, we wanted to give the idea of a deserted landscape. The theme of souvenirs played the role of a talisman item, a magic object that talks about one’s past. This is happening both with the surplus shirts made out of pre-owned tropical patterns, an homage to a happy moment, and the “I suffer” tee, a declaration of empathy.
How has Milan as a city impacted your brand and work?
I don’t really know Milano, it’s more of a place that I live like a stunned tourist. I think its sharp elegance it’s a mystery to me. Magliano’s studio is in Bologna where I am from and where I live, far smaller yet with a great credibility in terms of incubating radical politics. I consider it a very sexy place. Magliano owes the idea of fashion as something that cures more than something that upgrades one’s status to this place.
A lot of our audience are young creatives – do you have any advice for emerging designers, or people wanting to break into fashion as a whole?
Advice is risky business, especially if you don’t know the person you are giving it to! I would just say that the adventure of a career is not to be considered different from the adventure of life: people should resist being preoccupied in themselves, and not give in to this sort of painful blackmail of a contemporary that asks you to be something else. I think young people need chances and a salary, more than advice.
What’s the piece of work you’re most proud of, and why?
For SS21, the first season happening during heavy lockdown, we presented the collection as a sort of carillon through the words of Isabella Santacroce, a beautiful writer that at the end of the 90’s depicted masterfully her acid generation. She is one of the writers I loved most in my teenagehood. She wrote a sort of inner speech for every look that we staged: the idea of talking of fashion through literature has always been an obsession to me. I consider that a very precious moment.
What does a typical day-in-the-life look like for you?
Hahaha it looks like something pretty boring. Most of the time I move from one factory to another. I spend a lot of time on my own.
Where do you see Magliano in five years?
I cannot say exactly, but I can say how: I see it as THE house that celebrates fragility.
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