Wearing jeans and a white tee under a peach shirt splattered with green and orange spheres, Florentine fashion designer Michele Moricci looks poised and at times a little bit shy when I meet him at the International Studies Institute in Florence. As soon as we begin to talk, however, his unstoppable energy and creativity come out!
Ph. Daniele Pizzolante
Myriam N’Sele: Just looking at your outfit I got that you’re in “the industry”, but I’d like to know what drew you to fashion?
Michele Moricci: Fashion is found everywhere and in different domains so naturally I was drawn into it. In my case, I’m specialized in pattern painting. I have always loved to draw and that’s one of the basics of fashion. You could say that I have pursued fashion in my own way, along those lines.
MN: Can you tell us more about your beginnings in the world of fashion and your achievements?
MM: When I finished school I started working for two years in studios (both women’s and men’s lines). Then I started doing some freelance work and this is what I’ve been doing since. The well-known publishing house Arkivia Books was looking for a graphic designer to help them with their graphics. I now have on worked on lots of books with them. As you can see, [he shows me some of the colorful designs], they range from flowers and pop culture to ethno fantasy and naturalistic themes, following the main trends of the season. Most of them have been created with a drawing tablet and vector system so that they can be resized according to the needs of the brands that will buy them. Most people dedicated to the creative area work like this. Elle magazine also published some of my works in one of their issues to show people how these patterns can be used in clothes, bed covers and papers. Again, my creativity is not only centered on fashion, but also on furniture and many other areas.
For me, I use some illustrations inspired by traditional Florentine designers such as Gucci and Emilio Pucci. With the vector system I can then change the shapes and colors according to my own fantasy and personal ideas.
I love drawing in general so that is reflected through my work. My own collections can be described as feminine, simple and nice. One of my T-shirt collections is ironically named “Jesù La French”. I wanted something that sounded very “gay”, and I thought about the cliché sentence “oh my God, my nail is broken!” In fact, the word French refers to the manicure. For me it was a perfect inspiration point.
When you are a new designer and you have no contacts you need to get noticed. I was lucky enough to get Anna dello Russo (art director of Vogue Japan) to display my t-shirts on social media because one of the prints showed Anna Wintour, American Vogue editor-in-chief, and Anna dello Russo along with the words, “Choose your Anna”. She liked it a lot and also talked about it on the radio. That tee became an “it” piece of the season.
I also got in touch with Swagger NYC a few years ago. They asked me to create cartoon characters from the ’90s and dress them with 2013 collections from famous brands like Marc Jacobs, Jeremy Scott and Rodarte. Soon everyone was talking about it.
Cosmopolitan magazine also asked me to do illustrations of Disney princesses acting like Miley Cyrus who was, at the time, a wild child. Everybody loved it. They also displayed some of the outfits Miley was wearing during premieres and performances. She does not work in the fashion world but she is actively involved in it through her collaborations.
MN: That’s funny, but have you ever been sued for using celebrities’ or brands’ names?
MM: No, I haven’t, but that’s just because those are my own drawings, not pictures of them. You can notice that I didn’t use their last names either. However, someone from Chanel contacted me about using their logo so I chose to use the sentence “I am wearing Coco” in the shirt with the drawing of a Chanel perfume and bag.
MN: Two years ago you started to work on a shoe collection for a shoe label called Atiana. Can you describe the process of designing these shoes?
MM: I use my drawings and the vector software for the patterns and then the final image is given to suppliers. We also have to choose the colors and the leather. It’s a very complicated and long process really, especially at the beginning when you start from nothing. We’ve managed to make more than five collections together. Some magazines like Marie Claire even suggested these shoes to their readers.
MN: In general, are there any difficulties associated with your career?
MM: All of these jobs were undertaken during different periods of my life, sometimes at the same time. But you need to do this, you have to work all night and deliver to prove that you’re professional.
MN: Michele, besides designing shoes and clothes, have you worked in other areas?
MM: I have also written editorials for some photographers and emerging designers. I have interviewed them as well as curated some of their shootings. I also worked as freelance fashion editor for the indie magazine, Enquire Mag.
MN: Who are your favorite designers?
MM: I like to look for new ideas, right now it’s Rei Kawakubo. I like designers who try to experiment with something different. I admire designers from the past like Christian Dior. I also like Italian designers such as Gucci’s new creative director, Alessandro Michele. At the beginning I thought that his styles were too feminine but when I saw editorials and celebrities wearing the clothes I completely changed my mind.
MN: What are your thoughts on contemporary fashion?
MM: Fashion has changed today compared to the past. Back then, designers completely changed how people would dress. Nowadays, fashion is not as good as it was. When you compare Jeremy Scott to Moschino you can tell that there is a difference between them and it’s a difference I don’t like. To me, there is something wrong about how fashion is not about creativity anymore but only about money.
MN: Is Pitti Uomo the future of fashion in Florence?
MM: A few years ago I would have said no. But something has changed, a good change. In the past the same brands and same types of clothing were always displayed. Now the ideas are changing, we can see new guests, they are trying to do their best to bring Pitti Uomo up to a higher level.
MN: As a graphic designer, according to you, what is the future of graphic design in fashion?
MM: There is a necessity for more graphics, brushes and patterns on clothing. Every year more and more ideas seem to come out. Graphics are needed for many areas such as photo shoots and edits.
Michele concluded by stating, “graphic design is going to be constantly growing” and his works definitely showed me how!
About Fashion in Florence
In May-June 2017 ISI (International Studies Institute of Florence) will offer for the third time an innovative class in Fashion Communication for non-specialized students in design. Emphasis will be on analysis of leading fashion media critics, commentators, bloggers and influencers. During the last edition of the course students had the opportunity to visit Pitti Uomo fashion trade-fair and write their reports and blogs including one-on-one interviews with leading young figures in Fashion in Florence. Professor Emeritus Mark Bernheim headed the team, which included fashion commentator Alessandro Masetti.