Luca Magliano wants “to play with the rules in a very irreverent way”. With this purpose, the Italian fashion designer started his own project, Magliano. A brand of his own with which he has been challenging the essential garments of the Italian male wardrobe, creating pieces that make an ancient language “cool and current” and using cinema and literature as the main inspirations.
But this passion for fashion was with him long before he took the risk of creating his brand. In his childhood, Luca used to play with fabrics – “a towel could be the tail of a mermaid” –, and that gave him the first sense of fashion. From these early innocent games until now, Luca has been through a lot. But all the steps he has taken – and also the ones that he continues taking – have had the same fuel: consciousness and passion.
You studied in Libera Università delle Arti, worked for other designers, and then created Magliano, your own fashion brand. But no one makes such a risky decision unless it’s something he’s passionate about. So, do you remember when you realized you wanted to be in fashion? And that initial passion, how did you manage to keep it up over the years?
I think it is a crescendo. In my childhood, I used to play with fabrics; a towel could be the tail of a mermaid. That game was the first time that I sensed fashion, I think. When I started this job as a young man, it was because a person that I really loved and that, in a way, has been my mentor, Barbara Nerozzi, suggested me to do that. All the experiences I had in this field added a layer of consciousness and passion.
Do you remember what were the names that you especially looked up to?
Many. But if I had to choose one name that really made me change my point of view about fashion I would say Franco Moschino.
After you started your career in Milan – interning at Alessandro dell’Acqua –, you decided to return to Bologna. What does your hometown have that made you choose it over one of the main fashion capitals? What does Bologna bring to your designs?
Bologna brings more ‘provincia’ to my narrative, more magic realism. And I love the underground scenario that historically takes place here.
But Alessandro dell’Acqua wasn’t the only designer you worked for. Before launching Magliano in 2016, you worked with other designers like Manuela Arcari. From these experiences, what was the most important thing you learned and took into account when creating your brand?
Technically, everything. A good sense of product and manufacture that is at the very base of prêt-à-porter.
And to know a little more about the brand you are leading right now, what was your biggest challenge when creating Magliano? And currently, what are the philosophy and values of the brand?
It’s the process of synthesis. To give as many evocations as possible through design. We used to say that designing was like creating surgically this new monstrous creature where allergic universes were joined together: this is both an aesthetic and an ethic rule. We want to narrate the stories of freaks.
Nowadays, with Magliano, you give a new vision of menswear, but you do it often through classic garments such as blazers or trench coats. Was one of the needs behind your brand to challenge the essential garments of the Italian male wardrobe?
We call those objects the fundamentals of a wardrobe, garments that generally have a legacy in terms of meaning. As I said, my background is prêt-à-porter, and Magliano started existing in a moment when menswear was all about streetstyle: our bid at that time was to make those classics talk to the contemporary, make that ancient language cool and current. That is why we started from the very beginning to play with the rules in a very irreverent way.
Despite that intention of reinterpreting some classic pieces, what characteristics of traditional Italian fashion have you decided to keep in your designs (the importance of tailoring, the materials, the production process…)?
Well, all of them and none of them. Sometimes a blazer must be perfectly done if the project is to tear it apart in the end; some other times, we don't respect any of the rules of construction because we want to give a feeling of something absolutely uncommon. Same happens to fabrics: sometimes, we source the finest Italian wool, sometimes, it’s military dead-stock. What is sure is that we do clothes following those organic processes that once were known as made in Italy. It is industrial but it also involves a certain amount of craftsmanship that makes design feel real.
One of your most recognized collections was For the Enamoured Man, winner of the Who’s On Next? contest, organized by Vogue. Could you tell us more about the concept behind this collection?
Basically, it was an investigation about the wardrobe of a man in love, from prom’s dressing to the cruiser outfit passing through Latin lovers and Italian grooms from the ‘80s. We often say that our designs are for ritualistic individuals, in this sense, that first fashion show was a statement.
How did winning the contest affect your brand? Did you feel major changes? Like a before/after moment?
Who’s On Next? luckily happened at the very beginning of our history, but for sure it made a difference. It was the perfect starting point and granted us a public in the fashion world.
And taking the previous collection as a starting point, here is a more personal question: what is for you to be in love? Would you link that feeling to the one you have when you're designing?
(Laughs) In a way, yes, love is the most precious of the design projects that exists, it requires passion and the use of all the senses at the maximum of their possibilities. It needs attention, it makes people develop a special vernacular.
You are an artist with a very contemporary proposal, but at the same time, you are passionate about Italian classic cinema (Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini…), right? Would you say that cinema is one of the influences of your work? What attracts you from this type of directors?
Cinema and literature are for sure the main inspiration of my fantasies. In this specific case, both Fellini and Pasolini were able to include in their discourses a dreamy vision of their contemporary Italian landscape, they made it iconic, ridiculous crazy also but never pathetic. For sure, their lessons are very important for a brand like ours that wants to explore the quintessence of Italian legacy.
And after talking about classical artists, let’s focus on contemporary creators. Are there any artists you especially admire? And anyone you’d like to collaborate with?
In fashion, so many at the moment, it would be hard to make a list. I have a great admiration for many of the new brands of the last five years scenario.
To finish the interview, from now on, how do you think about the future of Magliano? Any goal that you want to reach?
At this very moment, it is hard to imagine the future clearly. A dream would be to experiment in the direction of a more elevated way of designing and producing. The ideas around made-to-measure and bespoke thrill me. It is couture for men. I have a feeling for extremes.