Marianna Rosati: Her Life in Leather
By: Maggie Kelly
Marianna Rosati has continued her father’s leather legacy with their joint label, DROMe: a luxed-out reinterpretation of one of the world’s most traditional materials. But, as you will find out, there’s nothing traditional about the kooky and candid Marianna Rosati.
Q: Marianna, you started the DROMe label with your father, Ferrero Rosati, who spent over three decades in leather development for major design houses such as Prada, Gucci and Fendi. What did he teach you about working with leather?
A: Working with my father mostly taught me to always believe in your dreams and always work hard for what is the aim I have. He is such an inspirational figure for the way he faces life and the way he applies his values to the work. Then, of course, I learn all the technics of garment making, not only in leather but also in fabric and knitwear thanks to the great people that have been working in our company for a long time and who dedicate an enormous amount of passion to their daily work.
Q: Leather in apparel traditionally has connotations of being tough, biker-style, broody, even punk. How have you worked to challenge this is the DROMe collections? Your clothes are so soft and buttery some are hard to believe that they’re leather.
A: Well, I really deeply love the punk and biker connotation of leather because I’m a big lover of the punk era! Having said that, I think leather can be many more things, it is such a versatile material, beautiful in its texture and great to experiment with. I always start from thinking about creating a fabric out of leather in order to create a completely different approach to the material. Working on its softness and weight, on the colour shades, interpreting it in unconventional shapes has been my challenge all along.
Q: You have a side project called Twisty Parallel Universe, a collection that overlays fashion with photography, art, and pop culture. How did this come about? Tell us a little more about it.
A: I don’t have TWISTY anymore sadly! I had to be more focused on DROMe, so I quit it. Although I have to say I hope to create a new project in the future of a similar nature! I am anyway combining art and photography in DROMe a lot!
Q: In both DROMe and Twisty Parallel Universe we see a heavy 1960’s mod influence: lots of pastel shades clashed with olive greens, tan, big checks, and chunky shapes. It’s almost a bit Wes Anderson in its vintage-kooky-femme vibe. What inspired this style?
A: I love Wes Anderson of course!! I think that I am very attracted by the mod style, mostly for the music and the era it represents. I really love the colours of that period and I love mixing these atmospheres with more punkie and rocky inputs. But, if I look at the recent ages of fashion, I find myself falling in love with aspects of all of them. Now I’m obsessed with the eighties and the nineties, obviously not all of them but some details, maybe some movies or artists that made history in those times.
Q: Before starting DROMe with your father, you were head designer at Italian label Santacroce, earning that title at just 26. You were so young! Did you feel at the time it was a large role to fill, or was it a natural progression?
A: Working for Santacroce when I was so young has been a great learning ground for me. I have to say I didn’t find it scary, we were a great team and I wasn’t alone, the teamwork is so important in our job! It was very interesting but at the same time I wanted to create a brand from scratch in order to apply all my ideas, all my filters to something new.
Q: Like a potter works with clay, or a dancer works with their body, leather is your chosen medium. What do you love about it?
A: I love the fact that is a difficult material to work with, that has a natural elegance; it can be strong and sexy, or romantic and smooth. And we are really talking about just one material. I like that there are more limits that need to be broken and I like the fact that this is a challenge!
Q: Marianna, you come from a family of wild creatives: as well as designing, you participate in physical theatre workshops; while your brother Gabriele Rosati studied painting and sculpture before settling into photography. What was it about your upbringing that sparked such creative genius?
A: I don’t know! I think the open minds of our parents have helped a lot! Gabriele is 16 years younger than me so I have been taking him with me since he was very, very young to experience theatre, music and the art of beauty. Our dad is a very passionate figure that always gave us the possibility of travelling and of believing in big things. Our mother is a very strong woman, bit more rational but very determined in everything she does in her life. And, even if we come from a small village in Tuscany, around us there has always been a great creative energy, we have met people that literally opened our minds such as theatre Director Firenza Guidi who introduced me to the contemporary theatre and circus and with whom I’ve worked for the last 15 years. I think people with a certain kind of sensitivity are destined to meet each other and to share projects and ideas.
Q: The DROMe S/S ‘17 collection returns to soft, feminine shapes and a floral print that is all undeniably very girly and sweet. However, much of it is created with leather – traditionally a ‘hard’ medium. Do you feel there is strength and power in this juxtaposition?
A: The Spring/Summer season for DROMe is always the hardest! I tend to work mostly with soft materials to express lightness and softness. The Resort collection was inspired by Martin Parr photos, the world of flowery interior design, an eighties vibe that was going through the entire collection. That is where the romantic but still not too feminine part was coming from. The show in Paris was taking something from Resort but mostly was a wild interpretation of colours and deconstruction. I wanted to play with simple elements like ruffles and asymmetric cuts to restyle them into a smoothly sexy silhouette where the clothes could stay on the body with just one knot. The colourful pop abstract print, the golden, the paintbrushes and the amazing iridescent leather where the spaceship of the collection: a triumph of light and colours to express the joy of summer.
Q: Let’s play a game, ok? You are a DROMe leather dress: tell us about a day in the life of your owner.
A: Oh, if I have to choose to be one of my dresses I would definitely be the iridescent outfit with ruffled top and sexy pencil skirt! Well I’d sleep in my pink closet with my friends the feathers and in the morning. I would go out in the sparkling sunny day of Palm Springs! I would have a nice breakfast in my favourite cafe, have a walk in the main street of Palm Springs, having lunch at the Parker Hotel and then I would head to some vintage furniture shopping! I’d definitely buy some pink flamingos for my garden. I would end my day with a lovely cocktail by the pool to get ready for some kind of party!