“WOMEN MUST BE FREE TO LOOK SEXY WITHOUT BEING AT RISK FOR THAT”: THIS IS THE VIEW OF THE PRESIDENT OF GUESS, THAT SUPPORTS THE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE THROUGH GUESS FOUNDATION
By Antonella Bigotto
What could be the main topic to discuss with a man who during the past 35 years has defined the evolution of the fashion image discovering the most sensual models and some of the most talented photographers? That’s an easy question: female beauty and its communicative power, if it is true that reviewing Guess’ advertising campaigns is like going for a trip through the changes in the concept of sensuality.
The appointment with Paul Marciano, creative director and CEO of the American brand Guess, is in Rome, for the launching of the 2017 edition of the Denim Day, a charity event to support the fight against violence on women. Paul Marciano looks smiling and relaxed. It has been 35 years since he left Marseilles, in the South of France, where he was born, to move to California, but he still has a strong French accent that softens his way of speaking. He is happy to tell us about the cause supported by Guess Foundation Europe together with The Circle Italia Onlus and passion lights him up when he starts talking about the female image linked to his brand.
What type of woman do you want to convey now?
“The ingredients are always the same: from the very beginnings the Guess women have always been feminine, sensual, self-confident, independent, free and happy. This image is very far from that of traditional models, often too skinny and sad. Our campaigns express an intense yet smiling seduction, strongly different from the vulgarity dominating today’s world”.
Which is your favourite photo?
“It’s hard to choose. Maybe Claudia Schiffer photographed by Ellen von Unwerth in 1989: she represents the soul of Guess. But I was lucky enough to promote many other beautiful girls, from Carré Otis to Anne Nicol to Eva Herzigova and, more recently, Gigi Hadid and Hailey Baldwin. I used to choose them personally when they were starting their career, without knowing them, just looking at their snapshots. Also with photographers I have done a huge research work: from Pablo Alfaro to Neil Kirk, I have always selected new talents or artists not working in the fashion sector to gain a fresher approach to it.
How would you define the Guess style?
“We want women to feel more and more beautiful and self-confident. We don’t like to follow trends, we are loyal to our customers’ expectations, of people looking for high-quality products at a reasonable price. Denim is our starting point, but the power of the brand opened the way to many brand extensions: from bags to watches, from footwear to fragrances, from eyewear to swimsuits”.
What is it that links you to Italy instead?
“I love your country because you live very well here. When in 1992 we thought of expanding the brand from U.S. to Europe I had some friends in Florence and I instinctively knew that it could be the right place. Friends, great food, a relaxed lifestyle, the Italian taste driving our design office, which is exactly based in Florence: a perfect mix that always makes me very happy to get back there”.
What is the Denim Day?
“It is a way to say no to violence on women, an awareness-raising campaign that Guess Foundation has been supporting for three years. The idea is that on May 27th all women wear a pair of jeans to reaffirm their freedom to look sexy without feeling in danger for that. The second purpose is to support the victims of violence that The Circle Italia Onlus helps every day through projects aimed at restoring their dignity and independence”.
Are you happy with your life?
“I really am: I had the opportunity to create a business together with my brother Maurice and to leave a mark in the fashion world. Yet I could never forget what my mother used to tell me in Marseilles: you can sleep in one bed and eat three times a day. All the rest is unnecessary and must be shared with those who are not as lucky as you”.