Marco Ribeiro is the founder of the Marco brand that presents his collection autumn winter 2020 2021 call Manifest. The Brazilian designer, now naturalized in France, prefers to use a nomenclature that uses numbers to indicate his collections – this is in fact the Collection II – given the low propensity to follow the seasonality and the consequent impositions that derive from it. The starting points are the female body and the nudity however, they are faced as a tool for self-affirmation, devoid of any sexual meaning, and indeed in contrast with the excessive sexualization that very often characterizes the concept of the body itself. Even his country becomes a concept translatable into fashion creations, through the decomposition of the Brazilian flag, whose shapes are then reassembled on the silhouette creating cuts, joined together thanks to a series of geometric shapes, among which the circle prevails.
There cyclical life and all the philosophy that derives from it guide the autumn winter 2020 2021 collection of Marco, designed to subvert the stereotypes that mark the woman, too often. The clothes therefore start from a neutral monochrome, white or black base, and then frame those parts of the body that are normally covered with geometric shapes. In this case, in fact, the body becomes an integral element of the garment and its exposure is therefore necessary to the whole. These geometries are enhanced by an embossing of the fabric which thus combines with the other components to give life to the entire dress. On these neutral bases, the saturated colors of Marco’s circles stand out with arrogance, becoming a sort of maxi cockades, which grow in size, creating a contrast, not only in color, but also in volumes. The circle therefore sees its diameter grow more and more, concealing the faces and even the whole bust and, at the same time, discovering the breast instead. Even the skirts take on a solid appearance, thanks to the folds mounted on a rigid circle around the waist, which is supported by the long braces, which make the garment wearable. The colors and volumes fight, as does Marco’s woman.
The words of the designer better explain his world in this interview.
You have chosen to use the naked female body as a form of protest and expression. Why?
Very often the naked body, especially the female one, is reduced to a sexual object, especially for the satisfaction of others. What I want to say is that your body is powerful and beautiful, and I want to show how it is the maximum expression of yourself. It is not for others, but it is only yours; and it is also a form of expression and not one sexualization. I would like my clothes to help anyone who wears them feel able to show their skin for their own decision. Not to affirm a sexual message, but to say “this is me.” And this is in a sense a protest in a world where everything is strongly sexualized.
What is the main inspiration of your collection and why did you choose to call it “Manifesto”?
Everything can be an inspiration. From my childhood in Petropolis in Brazil, with all its colors, its liveliness and its contagious energy. But also the women around me, like my grandmother, my mother and my sister. Or my longtime collaborator, the photographer Naguel Rivero who helps me develop the collection, as well as directing the editorials. Even the time spent in Paris (I recently obtained citizenship so I now consider myself a Franco-Brazilian) with its long tradition of craftsmanship, design and couture. It is very difficult for me to choose a single thing, because it is rather about mixing all these things together. I want to be colorful and bright, bringing some South America to Europe! Body shape is also an inspiration for me, in fact some of the silhouettes are inspired by dance and the idea of playing with movement and restriction. I chose the title Manifesto because for me this collection is a manifesto. What I wanted to say is that people are power and the manifesto expresses this concept.
Circles are a constant in your collection. What are the techniques you used to make them and why did you choose to use them?
Life is a circle! The circle has always had a strong attraction and has taken on numerous meanings. It is such a powerful form and for some reason I am strongly attracted to it. So for me it was natural to put it in the collection. The color wheel was also a strong inspiration and the circles in the collection are a literal interpretation.
We combine traditional and artisan techniques in which we ruffle the fabric and with a treatment used in sculpture we stiffen the fabric to create the circles. Everything is handmade and takes some time and space!
In your manifesto you say that sustainability is very important for your work. How far are you sustainable?
Sustainability is now a buzzword that can mean many different things. Growing up surrounded by nature I understood how everything is connected, returning to the discourse of circles. Obviously we use natural materials and do not deal with animal products, small things that help reduce our impact. But for me it is more a question of how we consume and create. I don’t want to be a slave to seasonality having to create two or four collections a year. I want to present the collections when they are ready, on a small scale, almost as if it were high fashion. I don’t want them to be consumed quickly and then move on to the next product. I want people to come back to appreciating individual items, without worrying if it’s the last issue or an old collection. And this for me means sustainability; and that’s why my collections are tied to numbers and not to seasons. It is also important to find ways to present the collections in order to reduce their impact. So without getting the models to the other side of the world, but involving those who live on site; without organizing incredible shows, but using the power of social media.
How did you insert the deconstructed Brazilian flag into your creations?
This speech takes us back to the female body and nudity. We made a dress taking the shapes of the Brazilian flag, separating them through unexpected cuts, then built on the body. In this way we have shown the knee and stomach, as well as the most sexually discounted parts such as the breast and nipple. This makes nudity more abstract and less sexual, inserting the parts of the body into the dress as graphic forms, as an idea opposed to that of provoking the flesh for a sexual flattery or for gratification. This is also a way to demolish the preconceptions that everyone has about Brazil as a highly sex-linked place. Nudity itself is deconstructed through the shapes of the flag to present something new.