Carolina Castigliano is the 30-year-old super stylish daughter of Consuelo Castiglioni, the designer behind the kooky, cool, family run luxury fashion brand Marni. In celebration of their new fragrance MARNI, Susannah Taylor met with her to talk fragrance, fur collars and motherhood.
ST: When it comes to creating a fragrance, where do you start?
CC: We started this project two years ago, so it’s a long process. My mother is very instinctive and knows what she likes and doesn’t like, and she really doesn’t like sweet fragrances – she prefers more spicy, moody scents – so we started with those raw materials.
ST: How did you decide on the packaging?
CC: My mother had a vintage perfume bottle that she picked up in a flea market years ago and has kept ever since which we used for inspiration. We wanted the bottle to be timeless, so we chose a clean glass shape, then, just like we do in the ready-to-wear collections, we have played with proportion.
ST: What is your first memory of fragrance?
CC: My first memory of fragrance is the scent of my father who has worn the same fragrance all his life – Caron Pour Homme. If I smell it anywhere I immediately think of him.
The new MARNI fragrance
ST: How would you describe the Marni woman?
CC: The Marni woman has a very strong identity and a strong personality. She knows what she wants and knows what she loves. She loves to mix and match fashion pieces together to create unique looks, which is why we create so many separates that you can throw them on with other pieces. This is also the reason why we have never as a brand done a major fashion advertising campaign – we don’t want to project a look onto our customers, we want them to be able to put their own stamp on a look. Our collections are really wide and satisfy lots of different ages and tastes from teens to grandmothers.
ST: What is your favourite fashion possession?
CC: I love capes – at the moment I’m wearing a beautiful, black, sheepskin cape that I adore. Another piece that I treasure is a fur collar which I like to put two brooches on (see image with Sus), it really completes a look.
ST: How does the Marni aesthetic spill over into other areas of your life?
CC: My hobby for my boyfriend and I is to seek out different pieces of vintage or 1950s furniture. On the weekends we love going out and discovering new pieces for our home.
Backstage at the spring/summer MARNI show
On her role in the family business
ST: What is your typical day?
CC: It depends what project I’m working on, but generally I don’t do the design, (that is my mother), I look after the e-commerce at MARNI.com, and our online quarterly magazine called Anticamera (see Marni.com ) which we’ve created to show our collections from different points of view. Every issue has a different theme and a different layout, and I’m in charge of putting it together. It may involve shooting backstage or creating a short film – we try to experiment with different ways to communicate to our customers. I also follow special projects, so if we collaborate with artists or architects, then I’ll work on those too.
ST: How important is the digital side of the business to you?
CC: I see it as a new and broad way of communication. Marni.com is where so many different elements come together – not just our designs, but the collaborations with artists, film, and illustrators. It’s where you can really get a taste of the Marni world.
On beauty and health
ST: Which beauty items do you love?
CC: Skincare - I love Weleda Baby Calendula Face Cream, £7.95, ( www.weleda.co.uk ).
Make-up - I don’t wear a lot of make-up, but I wear a touch of pink on my cheeks to look healthy. I love Mac’s Powder Blush in Breezy, £17.70, ( www.maccosmetics.co.uk ). I also love Mac’s Select Moisturecover concealer, £14.50 for disguising any darkness under my eyes ( www.maccosmetics.co.uk ).
Mac Powder Blush in Breezy, Mac's Select Moisturecover concealer and Weleda Baby Calendula Face Cream
ST: How do you stay healthy?
CC: I love doing sport and I like running and going to the gym. I try to do it at the weekends. In winter I also love going to the mountains for skiing, and summer I go to Formentera off Ibiza as we have a house there.
GTG's editor Susannah Taylor with designer Consuelo (left) and daughter Carolina Castiglioni (right)
On being a working mother
ST: You have a one-year-old son, but how do you find juggling motherhood with your career?
CC: I always feel I’m missing something – when you’re at work you feel like you’re missing out on something at home and when I’m at home I feel I should be doing things at work, or I have to be on my Blackberry. But I do it – it works. I love both sides of life.
Carolina Castigliano of the Marni family
The MARNI fragrance: notes from the editor
The new MARNI fragrance shuns fruity, fluffy, flowery notes in favour of deep, warm and spicy ingredients such as cardamom, rose oil and cinnamon bark, as well as patchouli and vetiver. Just like the clothing range, it has a strong sense of identity, and a slightly unpredictable quality that makes it stand out in today’s sea of commercial fragrances. If the fragrance was a woman, it definitely wouldn’t be Paris Hilton; this fragrance is the MARNI girl through and through - elegant, yet off-beat, unique and bold.
MARNI goes on sale exclusively at Harrods.com from February 1st, £48 for 30ml