MILAN — The matter of generational change is an issue looming over many Italian fashion companies. But Antonio Marras is thinking ahead. Although still young — he was born in 1961 — he is already thinking of his company’s future.
Starting with the fall 2017 season, Marras and his wife and business partner, Patrizia Sardo, have entrusted the development of the group’s I’m Isola Marras contemporary line to their eldest son, Efisio Marras.
“I couldn’t wait to give him the responsibility of this line,” said Antonio,, who will continue to design the collections of his namesake brand and develop projects in the design and art fields. “I’m very happy Efisio is embracing this challenge and I’m proud he is working with us.”
Born in Alghero, Italy, in 1991, Efisio Marras moved to Paris after high school to attend The New School’s Parsons School of Design, where he became interested in different creative areas. There, he had the opportunity to attend programs at Central Saint Martins in London, at Temple University in Tokyo and at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he developed an interest in photography.
After graduating in 2015, Marras worked in a photo studio facing Paris’ Canal Saint-Martin and in January 2016 he moved to New York to do an internship with fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti.
“It has been an incredible experience…working next to one of my idols and in New York, the city I love the most,” said the younger Marras. “The energy there is so special and I hope to come back one day….I keep asking dad, ‘Can we move the Isola Marras creative team to New York?’ But, of course, I know the answer….”
Despite his Stars and Stripes dreams, Marras divides his time between Milan, where he is based, and Alghero, the stronghold of the Marras family.
“I returned from New York to help my father with his personal exhibition at the Triennale [museum] and then I got caught in the project,” said Marras with a laugh, referring to the “Antonio Marras: Nulla dies sine linea. Life, diaries and notes of a restless man” exhibit, curated by Francesca Alfano Miglietti, which opened to the public last October.
The young creative mind, who photographed a range of look books and catalogues for his family company in the last few seasons, unveiled last month his first effort as creative director of the I’m Isola Marras line.
“You can start seeing my mark in a few pieces in this collection,” said Marras, showing great humility and respect for the heritage rooted in the brand. “I introduced some new materials and more urban silhouettes.”
Although Marras will be following the path traced by his father, Antonio, by continuing to work on patchworks, fluid shapes and a certain poetically maximalist aesthetic, he said his goal is to differentiate the I’m Isola Marras line more from the Antonio Marras brand. “Isola needs to be easy-to-wear, commercially appealing and immediate,” he said.
For the fall 2017 lineup, which is inspired by Frida Kahlo’s multicolored flowers, Marras, for example, introduced printed mesh, which he worked in a range of pieces, including a puff skirt embellished with quilted pockets. He also used this on the sleeves of a baseball jacket, showing the brand’s signature fabric patchwork.
Compared to previous seasons, the collection, which still features the brand’s signature maxidresses and rich outerwear pieces, is infused with a more urban appeal, resulting in nylon and brocade bombers, as well as in intarsia maxi sweaters. The family’s Jack Russell, Pier Ivo, remains the brand’s mascot.
“We are developing the collections also in relation to the requests coming from the new markets we are approaching, for example the Far East, where the demand of streetwear is particularly high,” Marras said.
Produced by Italian manufacturing company Loma, I’m Isola Marras is sold at the company’s Circolo Marras store in Milan, at the brand’s freestanding boutique in Dubai, as well as a range of international multibrand shops, such as Luisa Via Roma in Florence, Joseph in New York, and Bosco di Ciliegi in Moscow, among others. The collection’s retail prices range from 150 euros, or $158 at current exchange rate, to 700 euros, or $737, for the most elaborate outerwear pieces.