Sometimes things fall into place perfectly and we realise that things arrive at the right moment.
With his leading-man looks and infectious laugh, it’s hard to resist Marcel Marongiu. Since 2008, the most Swedish of our French designers has headed ready-to-wear and accessory lines for the house of Guy Laroche. His appointment follows a succession of several designers -with rather contrasting personalities- such as Angelo Tarlazzi, Michel Klein and Alber Elbaz. Over the past five years, musical chairs in fashion have continued to increase, with creative directors going from one house to another, reflecting an economically unstable environment. It is not uncommon for a designer to remain two seasons in a company before being fired and starting quickly elsewhere. The challenge with what Marongiu calls « the designers’ waltz » is precisely to distinguish yourself once it’s your turn.
Marcel Marongiu: « The name of Guy Laroche is quite mythical to me. His conception of Haute Couture was more pragmatic, accessible and minimal than other designers. Comfort was important for him and this approach attracted me. I try to work in this vein and revive the brand. The difficulty for me was to address its lack of identity, following the passage of several -and very different- designers. Although knowing the name of a designer is not a major concern for the final client, it’s important for a buyer or a journalist. I asked myself what Guy Laroche could mean today, while respecting the spirit and values of this house. »
During the brand’s last show, which was presented in Paris in late February, the reactions were good and Marongiu felt that Guy Laroche was getting a new lease of life « I guess people were waiting a bit before to see what would happen, but their decision was made this time. Whether it be from a commercial or press point of view, I saw that people got the message and understood the approach. Even if I had been faithful to it since the beginning and tend to persevere by nature, there are always elements you cannot control. Sometimes, it all fits together perfectly and you realize that things come at the right time. »
Both strict and sensual, the collection combines materials in an unexpected way, from patent leather and velvet to devoré-looking fabrics. Clean lines are mixed with more generous volumes, offering easy and luxurious pieces, which almost disappear to flatter the woman. One senses Marongiu’s Scandinavian and uncluttered style, although he has lived in Paris for almost 20 years. A certain subtlety defines his aesthetic, suggestive and functional at the same time. Despite seduction being there, nothing is ever forced. Moreover, Marongiu gives little importance to garments when he evokes the notion of elegance « One cannot reduce the concept of elegance to clothing. It’s obvious. For me, it’s something innate. Evolving within a certain environment may help and make access to certain things easier, but you can have few resources and a striking style. Elegance is about displaying critical intelligence and imagination as well. It has more to do with challenging things and taking nothing for granted. »
Marongiu is a very good communicator, persuasive in his statements and concise in his answers. One thing is certain: the designer does not mince words when he’s asked to describe our current context « There’s too much mediocrity around us. Look at politics, art, even fashion magazines. Everything is marketable today. Turn your television on just to see how low we are. We’re clearly living a decadent time, but I’m convinced it will make room for better things. » One can only appreciate his frankness. Rendez-vous at the next show, which will be presented at the end of September.