Marcella Dvsi’s braided designs put you into sensory overload. As the braids twist, weave and affix to create a masterful sculpture, you cannot help but reach out and touch the wearable art. Moving away from her previous collections of gothic fantasy, Marcella now finds herself embracing the lightness of candy pastels. We talk to the artist about the instinctive nature of her craft, her inspirations and her thoughts on art and design.
Tell me a bit about your artistic background, where did it all start?
I think it can all be traced back to when I was a child on holiday in the South of Italy, where I was camping with my family. I used to admire my dad sitting on a cliff, painting the landscape- that image has always fascinated me. I then moved on to study art in a high school in Verona because my teachers said that I was a skilled drawer.
So how did braiding come into the equation? Is it a skill that has been self-taught?
While I was living in Berlin I was trying to make some shoulder pads to wear to a club and I made them using a single braid. After that I started to experiment making other shapes and since then it has become my practice. So it is self-taught and it came a long time after art school, atleast ten years.
Who or what were you inspired by while creating your current line?
Candy and waves.
Your braided pieces are very tactile, almost inviting the viewer to reach out and touch. How important is it to you that your work has a sensory element?
The tactile element of my garments is extremely important because all my pieces are hand-made. I work using my hands, so most of the decisions are rather instinctive and made through what feels right rather than what’s been planned. I think touch is a very important way of non-verbal communication and it can open up your imagination which is unlimited.
The braiding in your designs looks incredibly intricate, could you describe the creation process, from the initial conception to the final masterpiece?
I create a long unique braid using a light fabric. Once the piece is made I start twisting and affixing the braid to the shape I'm thinking of. The whole process is very instinctive- I create the shape as I go along and attach the braids together with a simple thread and needle.
And how long would it take to create a dress from you collection, for instance?
It really depends; it can take from one day to one week, also depending on my mood. Generally speaking, larger pieces take longer to make.
There is a definite artistry to your designs and you have shown your collection in various exhibitions and galleries, would you describe yourself more as an artist or as a fashion designer?Are the two inter-linking in your opinion?
I rather think of my pieces as sculptures and my work as one of a crafter. I love the beauty lying within a single work of art and I think that its uniqueness is more precious than a mass produced object.
You feature your pieces in a series of collages and I think their flatness offers a nice juxtaposition to the 3D quality of the garments. Is collage an art-medium that you have always been interested in?
No, it's a new thing. I was just curious to see how the pieces looked in 2D. It's a fun thing to do when I'm not working on braids.
Your braided garments are not created in the typical fashion;do you ever find yourself limited to certain items of clothing when producing in this manner?
No I don’t find the process limiting. I guess the only limit is time.
Is there a certain piece in your collection that stand out a favourite?
I am very critical of my work so once a piece is finished I’m usually tired of it and get excited about moving on to the next one. At the moment my favourite is a piece I have most recently finished from the new collection. It is a big hat that resembles a wave.
How has your artistic style evolved since your first collection?
I think it has evolved a lot, I can see progression as I constantly strive to create pieces that are different from the ones I have made in the past. My new collection features a wider range of colours, mainly pastels because after a period of working with a lot of dark fabric I felt the need to create something fresh and bright.
What’s next for you and your line?
My new collection is waiting to be shot and I will be launching my online shop this month.