We have a chat with Carolina Castiglioni, the daughter of the Marni founder, Consuelo Castiglioni, who now founded her own fashion line, PLAN C, that seems to match perfectly well into our time. Working from the headquarter in Milan, which was already the family fur atelier of her grand great parents , Carolina has a very personal, slow fashion attitude which still allows her to be creative without following ridged fashion schedules, include a very personal side into her designs and take sustainable fashion a step further. From this week PLAN C just launched C.01, a capsule collection made of deadstock fabrics, available, only online.
IRMA: The PLAN C headquarter is in the heart of Milan, the former fur atelier of your great grandmother’s. This is how MARNI (your family business) started and now you have founded PLAN C , the next generation. Tell us about the concept and what you have in mind for the future?
CAROLINA CASTIGLIONI: With Plan C I would like to create a brand with my very own distinctive aesthetic vision, that reflects my personal style. When we started discussing with the family if and how to go back in the fashion industry the one thing we were all sure about was the willingness to create a business that would be sustainable in terms of human efforts, that would allow us to enjoy our work and our passion but also to balance it with our private life and families. The last few years at Marni the company’s size had become so big that we were not able to control it. I’m also concerned to create a business that is conscious about the impact that we have on the planet. We don’t need to have too many collections every season, to over produce. I see Plan C as an ideal wardrobe which expands season after season with new ideas and inspiration.
IRMA: Your designs are very bold, graphic and often of special textures and fabrics, where do you source your ideas?
CAROLINA CASTIGLIONI: All the different creative disciplines have a deep influence to inspire my creativity. It can be a piece of art, a picture, a building, a book or a graphic. I look at everything as a potential source of inspiration. For sure I do a lot of research when travelling and with the pandemic this hasn’t been possible. I miss a lot my research travels, Japan is one of my favourite destinations. I love their aesthetic and their freedom in the way they dress. I like playing with colours and prints and graphic. For example, for the very first Plan C collection I decided to use two drawings of my daughter Margherita and since then they became a sort of logo, mascot of the brand.
I love doing research on fabrics, it is the starting point of the creative project. I mainly use Italian or Japanese fabric
IRMA: You focus mostly on textiles and fabrics before you go to the next step of designing a garment. Where do you look for inspiration?
CAROLINA CASTIGLIONI: I love doing research on fabrics, it is the starting point of the creative project. I mainly use Italian or Japanese fabric. The textile is fundamental, I like to use special material or fabrics that has a “body” with a structure that by itself gives the shape to the garment or has a charming tactile feel.
I try to balance in my collection the presence of a masculine attitude, which is how I dress myself most of the time, with my own idea of femininity. I for example use flower prints. There are at least a couple in every collection.
IRMA: You are a master of mix and match, polka dots, to floral prints and Prince of Wales checks, how do you manage to balance it all out?
CAROLINA CASTIGLIONI: It is very natural, very instinctive to me as it reflects what I wear. Odd combination of colons or mixing a men’s tailoring shirting fabric with floral prints are what make Plan C sophisticated in a non-usual way. It’s never boring, it’s special but easy to wear.
IRMA: You include lots of artwork from your children into your collection, which gives your pieces a very personal touch. Do you think that this personalisation will get stronger in the future due to the pandemic and the way we changed our life styles?
CAROLINA CASTIGLIONI: I use a lot of personal reference in the collection. My daughter’s drawing are the absolute protagonist of the coated canvas accessory line. But I also use pictures I take with my phone to print graphic on t-shirts and sweaters or to create collage to print a fabric. In the actual spring collection, I created a collage of images I took last year during the first lockdown that I spent in Engadin with my family. I think it is important to be distinctive and to have a personal message.
IRMA: What was the most often cooked dish on your table during the lock down?
CAROLINA CASTIGLIONI: Potato gnocchi, a recipe from my grandmother
IRMA: Did your design direction changed during the pandemic, if so how and how?
CAROLINA CASTIGLIONI: Being a small sized company has been a plus during the pandemic as we didn’t have to re adapt too much the way we work. We are dynamic and flexible. Creative wise I’m still following my own path and direction. I decided to be more conscious in the way we do our business and to have less waste.
That’s why I decided to launch a capsule made of deadstock fabrics that will be crafted for limited-edition items that will be available in exclusive at the plan-c.com online store. Plan C C.01 is the first of a series that will transcends seasonality.