What was your first reaction when you heard about the collaboration?
I’ve been hugely excited about it since the very start. I really think this collaboration with UNIQLO comes at the best possible moment, because I see it as an additional step in the trajectory we’ve taken over the past two years. Little by little, we have readdressed all our processes to take the brand closer to people, to push it beyond the constricting templates of “fashion” and present MARNI authentically, engaging with and through the people, in a dialogue with the brand.
What inspired the theme of the collection? We heard that from the beginning, you already had a very clear design concept.
Creatively we’ve taken a very precise direction throughout the process, with the ambition to shape a wardrobe to be treasured and shared. We explored the notion of LifeWear through our very own experience and perspective and imagined a wardrobe that a whole family (or, as we prefer to say, “a chosen family”) could share and exchange between each other, living their lives in it. We have tried to translate that sense of ease and familiarity also through the photographs, lensed by Jamie Hawkesworth, that present the collection.
The collection is very MARNI with its very vivid, bold, and graphic patterns. How did you come up with the original patterns of hand-painted checks, flowers and stripes?
MARNI stands for colors and prints. It always has. For this collection, though, we wanted to inject our floral prints with a slight nostalgia and our signature ginghams with an artistic flair, transposing MARNI’s creative energy in brush-stroked lines.
How did you decide the design/silhouette for this UNIQLO and MARNI collection? How did you decide on the color palette?
The collection will release in May 2022, so we looked at colors that feel like summer, combining bold shades of red and cobalt with warm, earthy tones of khaki, ecru and olive green. Prints punctuate the range, connecting the collection chromatically in a mix of textures and monochromes.
How did your design inspiration and creative process differ during the creation of this collection versus your typical process when working on MARNI?
Throughout the whole process, we have always tried to champion UNIQLO’s ethos and integrity that lie behind the brand’s vision, giving our interpretation of UNIQLO’s LifeWear through a slightly out-of-the-box proposition that combines impeccably crafted clothes with MARNI’s offbeat and life-embracing spirit.
In addition to feeling like MARNI, what about the collection feels like you, Francesco?
Beside colors and prints, which are indeed very MARNI, the collection features some of my own signatures: grunge-inspired striped tees, wrinkled pajama shirts and slouchy tailoring. And the combinations of bright and mellow colors, interspersed with a subtle ‘70s nostalgia.
How do you feel about UNIQLO’s philosophy of LifeWear? You were already very familiar with UNIQLO products before the collaboration. What about the products stood out to you?
I am really fascinated by UNIQLO’s aesthetic and its proposition of smartly designed clothes for the everyday. Design-wise, UNIQLO’s product can be considered an intelligent synthesis of material, color and shape, but from my perspective, it’s more than that. The commitment to offering product that translates universally is utterly humanistic, and in that sense, deeply virtuous.
What do you want the wearers of the collection to feel?
I really hope that they feel good, that they feel like themselves, that they feel free. And that they live their best summer in these clothes!
What is your favorite piece from this collection?
Probably the silky pajamas that I can’t wait to wear myself.
We heard that you lived on a boat when you were little. Do you think it’s related to your happy and lively design somehow? If so, in what way?
I have blurry memories of those early years, but I reckon they must have had an impact on me. Probably more in the sense that they shaped my personality, rather than shaping my design vision.
The campaign's visual concept is "MARNI FAMILY." Can you tell us more about why you cherish your community and bonds with friends and colleagues?
I think that bonds are at the core of human experience, delineating our essence. Through our work and what we share with each other as we create, we define a framework that is dense with meaning. I consider MARNI as both a destination and a platform for people that share the same values—it’s a brand in constant dialogue with the people around it, and isn’t that the very definition of community?