Istituto Marangoni India
by Meher Castelino
Diana Murek, top fashion forecaster for several years is now driving the newly opened branch of the popular Italian fashion institute in Milan, where many Indian students long to study. Alumni of Istituto Marangoni, award-winning designer Rahul Mishra is now the brand ambassador of the institute in India.
Diana’s fashion knowledge is formidable. She graduated from AMD/Akademie Mode in Hamburg, and then worked with Costume National’s Style Department Milan. She also worked in collaboration with brands like Wolford and Francesco Scognamiglio and since 2003 has been the global face of Istituto Marangoni teaching fashion design, styling and business
Diana Murek has one of the most interesting blogs called ‘Into the Fashion’, where she tracks down designers who copy each other on the international scene. Her information base on fashion then and now has made her an authority. She knows how inspirations turn into collections like a 17th century Dutch painting was seen in Valentino’s Fall/Winter 2013-14 line. Moschino’s Spring/Summer 2013 was a copy of André Courreges 1965 original, while Celine Fall/Winter 2013-14 copied Geoffrey Beene’s Fall/Winter 2004-05.
But clothes are not the only part of fashion copied; even makeup is seen again and again. Smokey lips from Missoni’s 1971 look were seen for Marc Jacob’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection. At times Diana has observed that new designers for international brands are told to keep the look intact. So Prada looked at Spring/Summer 1996 archives for the Spring/Summer 2013 collection, while Yves St Laurent revived the famous lipstick print from his Spring/Summer 1971 in Spring/Summer 2014.
At times copies by High Street brands have helped the original haute couture labels’ sales to rise, as was the case of Birkenstock sandals that Zara also offered but the sales of Celine, Givenchy, and Marc Jacobs rose.
Diana Murek now as Director of Education in Mumbai for Istituto Marangoni shares her thoughts on how the branch will progress and informs on what the Indian students will acquire from the institute’s Indian branch. Here is an exclusive for the readers of The Luxury Chronicle
Fashion institutes in India have a lack of good faculty how will IM handle it?
The faculty in Mumbai is 100 per cent Istituto Marangoni. I am Director of Education and I am teacher on all courses. In addition I have brought with me a Fashion Business expert and academic from our London school, Mevin Murden, who has been with us for more than 7 years. In addition we have local teaching staff that we have selected from a number of Indian based Alumni. They not only have received the Marangoni education and apply it successfully in the local industry, but also been trained in academic standards and teaching methods to prepare them as teachers. At Istituto Marangoni we have a very well developed programme on faculty training that is used for teachers with us. Constant faculty training is paramount in fostering currency in teaching at a high level as we delivering it.
Have you seen the work of top Indian designers beside Rahul Mishra?
Of course, I follow the international fashion market as part of being a practitioner. The whole Mumbai team is very well aware of the local designers and brands. Another of my favourites is my ex-student in Fashion Design, Dhruv Kapoor. The other Indian designers I follow are Manish Arora for his amazing and ironic creativity, Anita Dongre and Sabyasachi for the incredible craftsmanship, and on a personal style level I like everything what Nicobar offers in their store.
Have you studied the requirements for fashion buying, merchandising, etc. in India?
We are very well aware of the different way the fashion industry works in India. We are preparing our students primarily for the international market and the complex and very structured rules and processes, including international seasons. The Indian fashion system is much more segregated and follows in addition festivity or wedding seasons. The differences of the markets will be analysed and studied in our courses.
Foreign institutes still do not have a firm hold in India since students prefer to graduate from Indian institutes and then go for further courses abroad, your comments please?
We have just arrived in the country, but the initial enrolments and subsequent application interviews we are having every day, indicate that there is an interest to study at Istituto Marangoni Mumbai. We are one of the few schools where students go abroad to, so now being in the country they can receive the Marangoni education without moving out of the country. In addition, students who study on our Undergraduate courses can progress to the third year in Milan and Florence.
You have come several times to India to deliver fashion-forecasting lectures what is your role now at the Mumbai branch?
After 14 years with Istituto Marangoni I have been promoted first to Programme Leader Fashion Design in Milan and then Director of Education in London, where I managed the teaching staff in the successful delivery of the academic portfolio, co-ordinating the activity of Programme Leaders and Unit coordinators. I successfully lead course validations and other quality assurance events. I was responsible for galvanising strategies and operations in student experience, retention planning, timetable management, staff development, quality assurance and enhancement. In Mumbai I handle the role of the Director of Education, with the challenge of successfully manage a start-up situation.
Please describe the Mumbai branch and its facilities.
The Mumbai School is one of the most beautiful ones Istituto Marangoni has launched in the past years. Situated on the last two Penthouse floors of prestigious Ceejay House in Worli, the school has a 180-degree view over the Arabian Sea. The school is designed by Italian architects and showcases Italian design furniture from Cappellini. The layout is a beautiful open space, with additional theory and computer classrooms.
Foreign institutes in India are still not as popular as the Indian ones how will you manage this?
I think that there is space defined for everyone and as there are very few institutes offering quality education in India right now, therefore we believe that a particular segment of students in India are looking for some fine international education, which Istituto Marangoni is here to deliver.