Listening to Marco de Vincenzo, you can tell that every word comes from the gut. The affable designer, with dark, striking looks, is quick to dive into his life and work, which began in Messina, Sicily, an idyllic port on the island’s northeastern tip. “Generally, when you think about Sicily and fashion, you think of Dolce & Gabbana. For me, Sicily is something different,” he muses. Indeed. De Vincenzo, who made his eponymous debut in 2009, has found nascent success turning out collections that exude an eccentric intellect rather than va-va-voom sexuality. It’s not just a coterie of international scenesters such as Lady Gaga and Anna Dello Russo who have taken notice of his whimsical wares; LVMH injected an investment into the brand last year.
De Vincenzo drew obsessively as a child, and at 18 he decamped to Rome to study at Istituto Europeo di Design. A gig in Fendi’s ateliers, working on leather goods, followed. “I really think it was the perfect place to be,” he reflects. “Everything was new. I had many opportunities to show my creativity.” In the decade de Vincenzo spent cutting his teeth at Fendi, he became close to Silvia Venturini Fendi, the brand’s accessories guru; she was the first to encourage him when he felt the itch to start his own ready-to-wear line. “She knew that I was missing something,” he says.
Since launching his own line, de Vincenzo, now 37, has made a name for himself by defying expectations, marrying pared-down silhouettes with eye-popping embellishments, vivid color, and tech fabrications, which he meticulously trials at factories throughout Italy. “Fashion wants to define you as ‘the lover of the actress’ or ‘the lover of sexy.’ It’s dangerous. What I like in fashion is to be free,” he says. Past collections have included experiments in silk fringe, glittery rainbow gradients, and checkerboard-like woven leather. For fall, his presentation of patchwork denim, oversize shearling coats, and slinky knit dresses in rainbow-striped Lurex accessed an insouciant, bohemian femininity, a burgeoning de Vincenzo trademark. “I always create something that tells my story,” he says. “Even if I think about a black coat, I want the black coat to give you something electric.”