Manuela Mariotti, creative director at Dondup presents her vision of the f/w 2016/2017 womenswear collection and her view on fashion. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini

Manuela Mariotti, Dondup's creative director
Manuela Mariotti, Dondup's creative director
Where is Dondup heading? What trends are characterizing the brand’s f/w 2016/2017 women’s collection?
Dondup is my passion and since I’m a perfectionist I’m never happy with what I do. I’m always fighting with myself and laboratories working with us. Though, inside of me I know I can do more and better.

This collection is characterised by the same spirit that made us found it. We were born as expression of a counterculture and our philosophy today is the same. For this season we are focusing on punk, not punk-chic (a term I don’t like), but a peace-minded subculture that similarly to the punk one of the ‘80s and ‘90s brought innovation - for good and bad.

Today my source of inspiration are young girls who meet friends at home, read books and listen to the music, a mix between punk rock and classical music. The past is part of us because it influences our present. The great energy that guided 1800s Italian artists gave them a great sense of freedom and made our country so strong. This same self-confidence can guide us towards a new and great future.

Dondup fall/winter'16 presentation in Milan
Dondup fall/winter'16 presentation in Milan


How important is denim for Dondup?
Denim continues to play an important role since it counts for 50% of our collection. It is always very forward thinking because it expresses our search for freedom. We don’t offer basic 5-pocket jeans but focus on authentic vintage and new fits though wearable and making women look beautiful. Also the fabrics we employ are very elaborate and always hand-finished.

Jeans are very important to us because they are part of our lifestyle culture and sense of freedom. Though denim alone is not enough. One needs to wear it with a silk tuxedo jacket and a silver top. This collection expresses the same energy of Sex Pistols punk rock mixed with David Bowie’s elegance and instinct to transform.

Dondup fall/winter 2016-17
Dondup fall/winter 2016-17


Everyone is talking about “See now, buy now”. What is your opinion on this?
I don’t agree with that because I have always lived and worked in a company where fabrics are re-elaborated together with weavers. This fast approach can be very damaging for companies that focus on quality. When I produce a trouser model for each passage I need some hours before reaching that specific effect. Similarly, a weaver requires about 5-6 weeks to produce a fabric. By shortening production times I lose quality, preciousness and also the artisan that works on that garment. In fact he needs one day to finish a jeans. How could he do the same work in one hour while producing 100 exemplars? Not possible.

I agree that some change needs to happen such as, for instance, have men and women shows together because men’s fashion is as important and influencing as women’s fashion, though industrial production rhythms need to be respected, if not what you buy now will already be old tomorrow. I don’t know what the solution is but I think in the past there were right timings: in the past people dreamt about what they saw on printed paper. Now one second after they have seen a photo online they are tired already one week after they have seen it.

That is the moment we should all take a step back and make people dream again because fashion is a dream. It has to be fun, enjoyable and should make you feel good. If you want to have a consumeristic business it is better you work with peanuts. Fashion is a different thing.

Dondup fall/winter 2016-17
Dondup fall/winter 2016-17