Mariavittoria "Marvie" Sargentini is a Perugia based designer of immense talent. Her design career began when she decided to focus her studies on fashion at the Fashion Design Institute in Florence. She worked for Italian designer Antonio Marras for 2 years before joining Carpe Diem, where she played an integral role in developing and realizing the conceptually forward Linea project. Now on her own, she has been quietly developing her own line, Marvie. Undertaking all tasks from research and development to production management, Sargentini has brought forth innovative ideas in the form of several projects. She has been overlooked for faithfully pursuing and sharing her philosophy of non-seasonal fashion for the past few years. Now that designers like Carol Christian Poell have moved forward with this idea, she is hopeful for a paradigm shift and transformation of the fashion world’s outdated traditions. This is Marvie.
As a fashion designer, what sense of fulfillment do you gain from your work?
My job is my world. Ephemeral, but real. It allows me to go on and creates for me the grand illusion that everything could somehow be useful and could contribute to people's wellness and make the world more beautiful.
So its more than simply adorning people in ornate garb?
I like to think so. Covering people with my clothes is my subconscious way of protecting them and making them strong and conscious. I would like for everybody to choose and wear what they want, what really represents the individual, developing their own individual perceptions. Which would simultaneously nurture both internally and externally, his own ego.
When we first met, you mentioned to me that you were a student of philosophy. How have you managed to translate and integrate the practicality of critical thinking over to the field of conceptual design, where aesthetics and visceral responses are driving factors?
My application of philosophy manifests itself in a kind of marriage of an existential uneasiness and an astonishment that the topic of fashion and costume design had aroused in me from the very beginning.
I never believed in fashion as a unique aesthetic representation of the appearance alone. I always believed in what there is behind the superficial; the deep and critical aspect of a human being as a conscious or subconscious individual. For this reason, I believe that love of knowledge and the depth of fashion design coexist. Clothes were born with men: to cover oneself. It's a form of primitive communication that developed in an aesthetic as much as rational way.
I think there is still much to understand about relation-interaction. Things have developed, modified and adjusted over the centuries, between men and his getup, his thought and the world around him.
The concept behind S+M+L is brilliant. Here, in your conception, there are three different designs playing with volumes, not sizes. Each with its own unique sartorial construction. All meant to be interchangeable with one another. What was it that gave birth to this approach to your line?
The idea of a new form, and of a new design, had come from my research and study of its functionality. The essence of the function is the representation of its being. In fact the project S+M+L has arisen like all my projects. It stems from the need to stimulate an evolution of sorts, when I discover that something useful can be done, starting from the origins of a classical wardrobe item . It's in this way starting from the historical research of what I would re-create (in this case tailleur) that I arrive at the minimal reconstruction of the item, bringing it back to its function and relating it to the present, with the help of quality materials, tailor's details and comfort.
The ideas that I developed regarding the volumes in jackets, pants and skirts, has come out from the willingness to make the suit more dynamic and actual, because throughout time it was always seen as classical, boring and with an old-conception. Because I want to play with volumes, it was necessary to augment construction. So tailor's details and cuts results in more functional and firmly connected silhouettes. Starting from the classical volume (medium), I moved cuts and seams from the center of the body to the external.
All this is useful to make your tailleur personal, giving the possibility to choose and match the volumes freely, allowing a new depth of experience in the interaction between the different items and your own silhouette. I believe it makes it modern and dynamic.
So do all of your inspirations well up from within or are there external stimuli from which you draw ideas?
My inspiration is tantamount to osmosis. It happens naturally. It is a kind of regenerative exchange between the world around us and my inner being. The initial creative phase, is never the same. It evolves with me and develops with what is around me. Both working together in an ideally mutualistic way towards the same goal of evolving.
You are now working on what has been dubbed "Coating". Do you care to share on the development of this new project?
Sure. This new project is going to complete my idea of making clothing that, apart from being personal and for everyday life, have the aim to be beyond seasons. I set out to realize my vision of "timeless" fashion by transposing the first piece that everybody associates with winter wear: the coat. As with each Marvie project, the story is named after the function/construction generated from the initial idea. It's for this reason that Coating is born: the coat as a cover, as a protective layer, not only in a physical way. Coat as first of our possible shelters. That means the need of protect ourselves by covering us up, regardless of the seasons flowing. It’s for this reason that the coat is made up of three independent coating (short, medium, long), in three different materials (cotton, wool, waterproof), that one can overlap. That allow you to choose and match, adapting it to your own body, the most suitable coating (or coatings) for the season, according to the mood of the moment.
Your clothing is your voice. I know that you feel it is a medium that provides an opportunity to communicate with those whom your creations engage. What is it that you hope they attain from the communion?
Yes, my clothes are my voice (above all when the person in front of me can not communicate in Italian!), but what I would like is that they could become an expression for all the people that have the willingness to communicate something personal with their own body.
It is for this very reason that I have created the different projects that are unique in material, construction and story (T-shirt, j2, S+M+L, etc...). It is a way to provide everybody with a little bit more freedom to choose pieces that would be an extension of themselves and to their own sense of individuality. Every person has their own perception, their own idea, which is expressed with the body, rather than with words.
Nowadays, one can choose in everyday life, to dress up or to disguise themselves; to express what one is or what one hopes to be. In that respect, I would like for those who dress in my clothes to understand and perceive the original meaning of dressing and the choices that they have made, to experience Marvie pieces as an extension of their own body and attitudes. I would like for it to feel natural, become their favourite item, be comfortable while transcending the limitations of seasonal wear. I would like for everybody to understand and appreciate the reciprocal exchange of sensations and perceptions between the body and the cloth. This is what I wish.
This interview can be found in its original format in the Scoute archive section.
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