For independent designers, no matter how talented, the road to success is always winding. It was a race full of pitfalls and hiccups that Marco de Vincenzo experienced firsthand. After launching his eponymous brand in 2009, he sold 45% of it to LVMH in 2014, and after six years bought it back at the end of 2020.
Now at the helm of his label, which he has temporarily put on hold, de Vincenzo is energized by the start of a new cycle. While retaining his position as head of leather goods design at Fendi, he is working on a personal project, unveiled during Milan Fashion Week with an intimate presentation. Called Superno (which translates to placed above), it’s a sophisticated approach to recycling vintage clothing. De Vincenzo described it as “a collaboration with strangers”.
De Vincenzo has always relied on in-depth vintage research to feed the inspiration for his collections; for this new project, his hunting ground has been a rather humble sort of vintage, nothing couture or high-end provenance. “I’ve always been fascinated by well-made, well-preserved but anonymous vintages,” he says. “Not luxurious or from prestigious labels, rather produced with care by small sartory, often forgotten or overlooked. He carefully edited batches of good-quality used clothing, then worked with his network of artisans and embroiderers to experiment with transforming dresses, blazers and skirts into one-of-a-kind pieces.
“I did it just for the sheer pleasure of being back in a free creative realm, with no deadlines, no clear focus on what to accomplish, and no pressure on what form it would all take,” he said. -he declares. “I’m certainly not the first to upcycling, but I’ve thought about it a lot, and it would be nice if every designer considered it part of their practice. Also, as I work for a luxury brand, I’ve often pondered what powerful fashion players could do to put their huge archives and stockpiles of dead animals to good use.
Each piece of clothing has undergone a meticulous redesign treatment, mostly done by hand by de Vincenzo’s small team of tailors and seamstresses. “There’s not a lot of technology involved in this project,” he said. Each item has been opened, relined, re-proportioned and embroidered. “They all changed their fates, so to speak. Their lifespan was extended and gave them a different trajectory.