Making her US debut at our Double Vision this past Saturday, WOAH profiles Italian-born London-based designer MARCELLA DVSI.
Featured in Double Vision‘s Galerie De L’Absurde/Anti-Fashion Show, a hat from MARCELLA DVSI strolled the catwalk alongside a unique selection of sculptural headpieces by Daniel Brent Nieto and Sarah B. Lund, with model silhouettes complete in looks from Kittinhawk, Omega Collektiv, and Bo Matthew Metz. The common thread among these varied designers may be the unusual ways they depart from the organic lines of the body to create a heightened form of fantasy. As in the unusual twisted compositions of MARCELLA DVSI, each of these designers utilizes the physical form as a springboard for abstraction––as a canvas for building volume, evoking eroticism and envisioning the surreal, and as a vehicle in which individual style can be accentuated, refined, and reborn.
I first met Marcella in Berlin somewhere in the haze of 2009. From there, we braved the grays of winter desolation, the nonchalant freedom of life as a foreigner in a foreign land, and quickly solidified an aesthetic love affair through shared tastes in Commes des Garçons, Dark Disco, esoteric objects, and Luis Buñuel. Thanks to the virtual elasticity of internet-time travel, we have kept watch over each other’s creative evolutions after departing and beginning in new territories many years later. From the start, I have forever been enthralled with Marcella’s captivating charisma––the intricate artistry and concentration she applies to a dexterous process––holed up in her flat with hands busily perfecting the art of braiding for sometimes weeks on end. As time has continually matured, I have never ceased to be truly blown away by the latest in her architectural and sophisticated collection for MARCELLA DVSI.
Here in an interview, Marcella sheds light on the artist behind the process and the creator behind those intricately braided masks and delicate armors. One thing you won’t learn below though… is underneath the delicate cloaks and woven headpieces, lies a voice akin to the dark deep tones of Nico. Back in the Berlin black hole we met in, Marcella was the singer for a band called Motherland––opening for the likes of !!! (Chk Chk Chk). But only after the band, did MARCELLA DVSI take form. Multifaceted, Marcella’s talents lie in many hats…
What shapes your inspiration? I feel inspired by many things such as a dying leaf on the floor, a William Morris print, film noir, or a church’s spire but nothing is more inspiring to me than the sound of a melancholic piano song… I work best when I am at the extreme ends of my emotions––be they positive or negative––I have no intermediate mood.
Are there any symbolic words or images you connect with your designs? Serpents, religion, death, veil, pagan …
What is your preferred environment and method for working? I work at home because all I need is a small table and some space to cut the fabric before I create the braid. I don’t follow drawings as I prefer to let the pieces shape instinctively.
Are each of your designs single copies or do you do varied editions for each? Roughly how much time do you need to complete one hat? Each piece is unique. Some pieces can be similar but no two are identical as I do not follow a pattern. It takes me between 8 and 20 hours to make one hat depending on the size and the complexity of the design.
Your photos seem to be completely in-tune stylistically with your designs. How do do you choose your collaborators? Is there an idea behind your photos and videos or what kind of mood do you hope to inspire with the pieces and images you produce? I first began working with [London-based] photographer Susu Laroche because I always thought her aesthetic was very well suited to my work … I am interested in new collaborations and seeing how others interpret my garments. I want other people to feel a spiritual union through interacting with my pieces and from the photos and films I make with them.
To coincide with the launch of her new collection, Marcella premeires the first in an ongoing video series with new collaborator, T.R. Watch the atmospheric promotional film III for MARCELLA DVSI below. Fragile in form and meticulously crafted, Marcella’s headpieces and accessories are available for purchase or commission. Contact MARCELLA DVSI.