Two years ago when designer Consuelo Castiglioni stepped down from Marni, the label she and her husband founded, the fashion world thought it had seen the last of one of Italy's favourite fashion dynasties. It turns out they were wrong.
"It was a pity to leave everything behind " all the knowledge, the people that had worked with us from manufacturers to laboratories. We decided to start again but in our own way," says Carolina, Consuelo's daughter and the founder of the family's latest venture, a fashion brand aptly named Plan C. "I wanted to start small " we only have 25 people working for the company, and yes, that team includes my brother and father."
There is no Consuelo in sight this time around, making Carolina the boss " creatively speaking, at least.
"It's only natural that people will compare Plan C to Marni, but it is its own entity. Of course from the outside it is obvious I have inherited certain tastes and styles from my mother, but Plan C is also very distinctive and contemporary. It's a new chapter of the story in a way," she says.
Carolina Castiglioni studied fashion business at the Istituto Marangoni before joining Marni in 2005, where she worked in various departments including retail, e-commerce and special projects. Her role at Plan C is quite different " as creative director she is responsible for overseeing all the collections, which she creates together with the product design team.
The label launched in September 2018 with plenty of buzz, due in part to the family connection. While it shared many characteristics with Marni, the look is more polished and pragmatic " eccentric but definitely less artsy.
Why the blazer is an essential part of every woman's wardrobe, and the Italian brand that updated it
Carolina's personal style is also evident throughout the collections, which she says speak to women who "have a strong creative spirit regardless of their age".
"The collections mix different elements together " be it colours or patterns. They may seem odd at first but when you put them together they are special. Quality of fabrics is also very important, so I spend a lot of time researching and sourcing from Italy and Japan. The silhouette is usually oversized, and I like to reference menswear and workwear. The look is feminine in a creative way, but far from classic," she says.
This is evident in the spring/summer 2020 collection, which features bomber jackets made from canvas and eco-leather, menswear-inspired plaid jackets and pencil skirts, and a full-length duchesse satin trench coat covered in a festive floral print.
Other highlights include the tailored shirts, which come with detachable knit collars in contrasting colours, and canvas- coated bags that feature playful stick drawings by Carolina's daughter.
Accessories seem to be a big hit, so more bag styles have been added this season, ranging from constructed leather cross-body designs to drawstring totes and colour-block satchels available in eco-leather.
Although the brand is still young and the offerings are limited " there are only two collections a year featuring 200 pieces " it is expanding steadily. It is now stocked by more than 140 outlets worldwide, including Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.
Earlier this Plan C welcomed its first boutique in Tokyo operated by local partners. Another will open in Korea in January with Samsung. Pop-ups are planned in cities including Paris and London, and e-commerce is next, although there are no plans to build a free-standing retail network.
"We want to grow little by little but it's not about building another Marni. Keeping it small is our way of being sustainable," Carolina says. "More importantly, it means you can do more things and work instinctively. That's the best advice my mum gave me.
"She told me not to follow what other people do or say, and believe in my own ability," she says.
Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.Artikel Asli