Niccolò Magrelli was born in Rome in 1988. He graduated with top marks in Fashion Design from IUAV University of Venice. His fashion design projects are collections that investigate the expressive possibilities of men’s tailoring as a means of communicating the identity for a new generation of men: his own. Five years of study and research on the only Italian university course entirely devoted to fashion, have led him towards prestigious projects such as costume production for the Multinatural (Blackout) event, created and directed by the artist and musician Arto Lindsay for the opening of the 53rd Biennale d’Arte of Venice Making Worlds. His talent got him into the pages of the national daily newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, reviewed by the brilliant pen of Angelo Flaccavento, the only real Italian fashion journalist to also be recognised overseas. Since last July, Niccolò is a talent who is ready for field experience and collaboration with national industry on the new path of Made in Italy.
How do you present your work and where do you position it, in a period in which society and fashion are looking for new meanings for the idea of male and masculine?
New meanings of masculine are created by mixing different ingredients. Everyone has their own recipe, even though I believe that the bases are the same for all. Using them as if it was the first time, curious about all possible combinations, is a pleasant challenge.
Typologies to deconstruct and analyse, everything is there, and there for a reason: my recipes take into account a background made of rules, and play with them to reconstruct or cloud them. My idea of masculine is fairly changeable, it moves among characters and canonical rules that aim to reach unconventional suggestions.
Millefeuilles is the name of the collection that you presented for your graduation at the IUAV University of Venice. What is the story behind this work? What was your technical approach to the creation of this menswear collection?
The project is a path that develops and solidifies through three jackets; it is a cognitive and thoughtful analysis of male outerwear. The name, Millefeuilles, originates in a series of movements in the construction processes and in the non-visible technical procedures, distinguishable through many layers. The jacket is analysed as a concept in construction, an ensemble of stratified elements: coarse hemp fabrics and bastings whose outlines follow each other in precise sequences, hidden and adhesive stitches.
My work aims to show materials and processing hidden under the outer surface, to reconsider the classic construction of the formal jacket through the deconstruction of its construction aspects, looking at them as formal aspects. The deconstruction into layers is the starting point of this project, that offers the chance to read what you cannot see in a garment: from internal patterns outlined by overlapping materials, to the three dimensions of invisible or unknown stitches, to the restoration of constructive thickness. It is a poly-sensory reading of the materials that make up a garment. By leafing through the levels, you can question their position and meaning, give life to new garments and find suggestions and guidelines to elaborate the idea of a garment as an act of design.
What part of collection design are you most interested in?
The development of a garment, of each single garment. I am fascinated by three dimensional rendering that starts from 2D and I am annoyed by some cuts. I spend a lot of time thinking about the models where seams often tend to rarefy. I am so obsessed with that, it could even be the basis for a collection.
Throughout your school years, in which you were able to confront yourself with the realities of production, how did your perception of fashion change?
I am more and more convinced that fashion creates suggestions and atmosphere, but I have never forgotten that it is product, cut and detail before it is image.
You graduated from a university degree course in Fashion Design. In your experience, what did that give you, compared with a private school?
I am very satisfied with my choice of the degree in Fashion Design at IUAV in Venice. Out of so many options, I think I found one that can compete with the best foreign universities. The mixture of different topics that gravitate around fashion, together with the technical and manufacturing content, enabled me to look at design in a different way. Italy has many different scenarios and I believe that a public university like this one shows that fashion is starting to gain relevance in everyday life.
What kind of support do you think is missing from the professional world and specialist sector press, both during the study years and when entering the field of work?
The possibility of direct and continuous dialogue between businesses, universities and press.
What are you setting up for your future – can you see yourself inside a style office or are you thinking of your own line?
Everything sounds harder than it is, maybe the problem is just getting started… I think having my own line would be a great place to land, but I wouldn’t like to be alone in this adventure.