Guillermo Mariotto – a Venezuelan who has then become a naturalized Italian – is a great Haute Couture stylist and the creator of valuable dresses and collections for Gattinoni fashion house. He now tells us more about himself for the BOOK for Buyers magazine.
1988 was the year when his marvellous adventure began at Gattinoni, while 1994 was the year of his official début on the runways with a collection dedicated to Eve. His fashion show was a real success and it has obtained a large consent of the public, including film director Robert Altman, who drew inspiration form his collection for a scene of his cult movie “Prêt-à-porter”. How were those crucial moments in his life?
The first encounter with Raniero Gattinoni was funny. As we had some mutual friends, we fixed a date at his home to leave and spend a weekend in a magnificent countryside villa, which was property of him and Mr. Stefano Dominella. At that time, we did not know each other yet so when I arrived, we cordially greeted each other. But when the moment of leaving came, he asked me: “Why are taking my book with you?”, while looking at the book which I was holding in my hand. So I replied to him that, actually, the book was mine. But he persisted in affirming that that book was on his table and I soon realised that the same book was effectively on the table. In that precise moment, we both realised that we shared the same passion for Eugenio Montale, and that our books had a bookmark on the same page, that is to say on the poem entitled “Xenia n°5”. That strange but magic event marked our friendship forever. From that moment on, a good friendship began to develop between us, up to the day in which Raniero Gattinoni proposed me to design a prêt-à-porter collection for him. I accepted it and, once the production had started, I found the Haute Couture agenda on my desk, together with the list of other partipants: big names such as Valentino, Ferrè, Mila Schön and, obviously, Gattinoni. I remained speechless because I did not feel to be at the heights of other designers, but he soon reassured me; he also added an important consideration which is still valid today: I was given carte blanche and I could draw what I wanted with the only condition that I should never look like anybody else. On the spur of the moment, it seemed to me like an easy condition to be respected but, later on, I realised that it was absolutely difficult not to resemble anybody.
In the following years, Raniero was hit by a severe disease and it was the misfortune for everybody. That was for me a moment of great sorrow; I still remember the drawings which I made for the last collection, which I preserve still today, and which were literally the results of my tears. In particular, I dedicated that collection to all the world’s women. And whom I should have started with? Obviously, from the very first woman on earth: Eve, who was naked and who had to remain naked. That is why a “naked Eve” came out. The public was waiting for a driven wagon and the appearance of the naked Eve on the runways as this caused quite a stir on all newspapers and magazines. On seven hundred invitations, as many as three thousand people came to the event, pushing against the gates of the Roman Aquarium, so that I decided to completely open them and let people enter the gardens. The painful death of the brand’s stylist thus became a triumph for Gattinoni brand itself, which had the crazy idea of involving the entire city of Rome with a simple reason of having a naked woman on the runway for the first time.
I have disrupted the previous natural order of things to create a contemporary, powerful clothing line
For the Italian Haute Couture it is not only crucial to consolidate the brand in the traditional markets, but also to create new potential customers through the digital channels. Which strategies has Gattinoni undertaken in this respect?
The strategies carried out by Gattinoni are above all the brand’s participation as “guest of honour” at International Fashion Weeks, like, for example, last April in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly, Saigon) in Vietnam, or last November 2017 in Mexico City.
On your opinion, how has the concept of fashion evolved in the course of the years, thinking about this industry in the 1970s, if compared to today’s?
Rather than talking about fashion evolution, I would talk about the evolution of today’s society, which I would define careless and indifferent. Society has definitively changed; there has been a change of its values: in the past, there were values, now there are no values. The “culture” of ugly fashion is now wide-spreading and everything has radically changed. Actually, I have fun with changes. But what is negatively striking me and disturbing me is people’s indifference. Permissiveness hides so many negative sides. To put it simple, if a mature woman wears a pair of flip-flop with shabby feet, a pair of teenager’s shorts, or jeans leaving half of her B-Side uncovered, it is quite embarrassing. A way of thinking which makes everybody think that everything is allowed can only generate chaos. A world without rules finally generates chaos.
Thinking about the fashion style characterising this Spring-Summer 2018 season, what is the “must have” article?
The pouch with the “WE DO IT TOGETHER” hashtag and the shirt in ivory satin and with black bow are certainly a must.
Gattinoni is a world-wide brand. But what is the most successful market for it? And how has the market demand changed during the last years?
Saudi Arabia is certainly the country with the highest demand since 1960s. In recent times, Russia has also become a good buyer.
With reference to the Couture 2018 No Season collection, it is undeniable that it has represented a sort of traditional storytelling with a review and update of the historical archive, through which, with the presence of different (per age and culture) models of women, like Gessica Notaro, themes likes women’s empowerment and the violence against the women have been highlighted. All these aspect show your intention of clearly conveying a strong, important message to the public. When you think about feminine beauty in its deepest sense, today what is the beauty which every woman should aspire to, on your opinion?
That collection has allowed me to relive memories, the best moments at works, the runways, the delays, the efforts, the expectations and the passions. The collection has made me experience every aspect. In it, I have disrupted the previous natural order of things to create a contemporary, powerful clothing line. This vital power has been put on stage by extraordinary women like Gessica Notaro or the 84-yo top model, Isabella Albonico. I believe that true beauty is that of one’s soul; by being loyal to what we are inside, we can become extraordinarily beautiful forever. It is fundamental to be curious, to study and grow, by nourishing our being for our good and not for other people only. This is what makes a woman effectively a special one. What transforms a feminine creature into a special woman is to aspire to something and “to be”, rather than “to appear”.