Antonio Marras was born in Alghero, on Sardinia. The island has always deeply influenced his aesthetic. His fashion debut was the result of a lucky chance. In 1987 a fashion house in Rome asked him to design a prêt-à-porter collection. Their invitation was due to his dual baggage of skills: cultural – Marras has always involved himself in every form of artistic/creative expression – and technical.
The latter is based on his know-how of materials and forms which he developed within his family’s business of a number of shops they owned in Alghero.This combination of intellectual input and practical experience provided him with solid foundations on which to build his first, eponymous collection. In 1996 he was asked to present an haute couture show in Rome.
The key elements of his style were already clear to see: the focus on craft techniques; Sardinia as a source of inspiration that is never reduced to folkloristic kitsch; the recurring theme of the ligazzio rubio (which in the Sardinian language means a “red thread”), which becomes a fully-fledged hallmark of his style.
He debuts with his prêt-à-porter in March 1999 in Milan. The collection has all the elements of his poetics. There’s always a theme, red threads. Then the taste for elegant contrasts: burn marks on luxury fabrics, distressed gauzes and sumptuous embroidery, visible seams and brocades together with a perception of modernity, richly decorative elements on vintage clothes, mixtures of rich and poor, male and female, decoration and structure, form and function.
In parallel with the collections, he continues to experiment through his Laboratorio and Serie Limitata ranges: not quite prêt-à-porter, not quite couture. Clothes made by hand in the Alghero designer’s big home-studio- workshop. Clothes that retain the allure of authenticity because only a few pieces exist and, at the same time, they may serve as the starting point for models included in the first line.
In 2003 LVMH, the French luxury goods group, invites him to be the artistic director of the Kenzo fashion house, which will be Antonio’s travel companion for eight years, until 2011. The second line I’M ISOLA MARRAS is launched in May 2007, debuting with the 2008-2009 autumn/winter season. Not exactly a second line, rather a more accessible, decoded Marras world.
Antonio establishes his headquarters in Milan. In all these years Marras made a fundamental choice, both sentimental and artistic: he never gives up living where he was born. From Alghero he travels to Milan and Paris, but it is always to Alghero that he returns in pursuit of creativity, inspiration and material for his expressive universe.
His work as a stylist takes him all over the world, but he persists in living on Sardinia, aware as he is that the island gives him his energy. He lives in Alghero in a big home/workshop on a hill high over the sea. He shares his home with his family/tribe, who take an active part in his creative work.