Alberto Marani

If, as they say, behind every great man is a great woman, then behind every great designer is another great designer. Word in Paris is that Alberto Marani, the Italian-born secret weapon behind three of La Roitfeld’s favored brands, could be next in line for a major house—never mind that he already designs his own label. While we’re sworn to secrecy about his talks, here are some nuggets you can take away…

You were the late Gianfranco Ferré’s assistant at Christian Dior Haute Couture in the 90s. Did he teach you anything that you’ve never forgotten?
Ferré showed me that fashion is real work, not some sort of joke. He showed me how to build dreams into reality.

What’s the biggest difference between consulting for three well-known fashion labels and designing your own label?
It’s very interesting consulting with other people—all the different energies. It’s hard and exhausting, but very enriching.

Do you tell them when you think their inspirations are terrible?
If there’s something I don’t like I say it in a nice way. The reason a designer hires me is to give my opinion, not just nod my head and say everything is great.

What’s the best and worst thing about the fashion business?
The thing that I like the most is that every six months you’re creating something new. The worst thing is that I’m married to it. When you’re married to your work, it’s hard to be married to a person.

Architecture is in your DNA. You studied it in Italy and your father worked with Le Corbusier. Will you ever design buildings? Marani hotels, perhaps?
No Marani hotels, but I think one day I will go back to my roots and perhaps design a house.

Let’s talk about your line. Who’s the Marani girl?
She’s a 24/7 kind of girl. I can’t say every girl can be a Marani girl. It’s something in the attitude. She’s between androgyny and femininity, simplicity and complexity. The woman that I like isn’t covered in jewels, but she’s wearing them.

Marani is a perfect anagram of Armani. Will you start showing football players in bulging men’s underwear?
Men’s collections, for sure. So far, the Marani guy is more a fantasy. I need to work on who he is. But to be honest, I don’t know about the football players.