The Female Gaze Marianna Rosati explores the little gestures that inform sensuality and femininity
Marianna Rosati knows leather. Her family specialized in manufacturing leather goods for high-end brands, which means she grew up hanging out in the leather mill so the role fits her like a second skin. In fact, after her first year at Polimoda, the teachers thought she was too experienced so they recommended her for the Master’s program. Her drive to explore all the possibilities of leather led her to set up an in-house laboratory, and she has succeeded in innovating leather and suede that reads like silk or cotton. In this climate, though, we had to ask about sustainability, to which she responded, “Our core business is leather, but we only work with leather that comes from the food chain. We work constantly with the tanneries and factories and the producer in order to get the best of what can be sustainable.”
While the clothes in the new collection recall 90s minimalism with straightforward, clean tailoring, there’s something beneath it, an underlying air that hints at more. The girls wore prim headbands, Mary Janes, and natural makeup with these understated looks, yet they were not to be overlooked. There were super short dresses with slits to boot, so legs for miles – and those legs wore thigh highs – but none of it suggested vulgar.
The power of innuendo became clear when Rosati revealed her thinking behind the show: “The inspiration comes from a beautiful book that I found from 1968 called Les Érotiques du Regard (The Pleasure of Looking). It’s a book about sensuality and I was thinking about what is sensual and how a woman is sensual. I thought that a woman is not sensual for straightforward dress code, but it’s her personality, it’s her attitude, it’s the little gestures. This book is all about little gestures, like how you poise your hand, how you pull your socks up, how you wear shoes, how you talk, how you look at someone from afar. All this came down to a minimal silhouette with little details and you can show your body and you are aware and confident of your femininity. So you decide how and you choose.” In light of the controversy Mr. Armani sparked recently with his choice of words, we appreciate Rosati placing power and choice squarely in the hands of women.