Seriously Black

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Marco Parascandalo’s darker side was released during the launch of his Autumn collection.

Going through the front door of the charming Auberge de France (today’s Birgu Local Council) in Vittoriosa, meant being transported in space and in time.

As soon as you set foot in this amazing palazzo, you breathe the air of the sixteenth century when French-speaking Knights of Malta crowded the streets of Città Vittoriosa.

Going upstairs, following the candles, the magic of history met the scandalous brilliance of one of Malta’s most talented designers in the local fashion scene: Parascandalo Marco.

He was applauded at the last Malta Fashion Week and his collection #skandlu has been a big hit during the entire summer. Every Maltese fashion victim couldn’t resist owning a Faqa’ Oħt t-shirt.

Parascandalo Marco presented his menswear fall / pre-Christmas collection 2014, entitled Seriously Black.

From the depths of darkness, an intrepid man floated over the runaway showing the power of the night. A ‘Gothic Londoner’ inspiration led by a men wrapped in black transparency and long poncho followed. The gelid gaze of the men dressed in Seriously Black showed the powerful elegance of people’s darkest part. A black swan opened his wings and showed his seductive cruelty.
As in the previous collection, Parascandalo mixed his international cultural baggage with his Maltese roots. Sweatshirts with x’gharukasa followed the current local trend to import from abroad the new tendencies without forgetting where we are and for whom they would have been created.

I managed to steal a slot in Marco’s busy schedule in order to hold an exclusive interview for Eve.com.mt’s readers.

I have just assisted in the organisation of a fashion show which transported me to the atmosphere of London’s underground. How much of London do you bring with you? Do you miss it at all?

I’m actually a bit surprised most people are saying that I’m still bringing London to the catwalk. I guess it’s still influencing me slightly, it’s been eight months since I moved back. To a certain extent, I do miss parts of it, generally street fashion / people, atmosphere and surroundings.

Tell me about your return to Malta. We have both been living in big cities and you know that it is an incredible change to live here. What pushed you to move back?

Malta has been lovely. I’m glad I’m close to my family and friends again, I really missed them. I also have new people in my life now that I’m very thankful to as they have offered me the best support and help whenever I needed it!

Was it difficult?

Coming back to Malta wasn’t easy as it’s totally different to London. Malta is much slower and laid back when it comes to practically everything. But I must say, I have adjusted quite fast. I had only been gone for four years, after all.

Have you always dreamt of becoming a fashion designer?

For sure, I have always had a flair for fashion. My Mum used to own a small boutique in the heart of Birgu. From the age of twelve, I was already helping her out decorating windows, as well as in the boutique. I eventually went on buying trips to Italy with her, too. I also remember that, from a very young age, I was always collecting pieces of fabric and ribbons and then creating something out of them.

What is the concept at the basis of your last collection and its inspiration?

Since my debut at Malta Fashion Week in May, 2014, with the slogan t-shirts which did so well, I decided to explore other slogans, slang words or sayings we use on a daily basis. Skandlu was the most loved, I think, so I decided to go for similar terms, such as X’gharukaza, Ommi Ma and Int bis-serjeta’? This time, I also added some designs to the wording and the inspiration behind these is me being back in Birgu. I used the swords, with Int bis-serjeta’? which was taken from Birgu’s coat of arms.

In Birgu, we have two religious feasts, one of St Lawrence and one of St Dominic – hence the grids with Ommi Ma and the stars with X’gharukaza. For the rest of the collection, I was inspired by the 80’s and 90’s Goth scene, but also focusing on different types of textures, such as mesh, wrinkled, embossed and sheen fabrics.

©Carlton Agius

Is it difficult to be a designer in Malta?

I think Malta has progressed a lot when it comes to its fashion industry. There are loads more that could be done, but it seems like it is on the right path, I used to think that Maltese people would never get how I dressed or what I designed, but in the past months, I have changed my mind on this. They appreciate it and understand it, so that for me makes it a bit easier to be a designer and also pushes me to experiment with new ideas and concepts for the coming seasons.

How do you feel being applauded and recognised in the Maltese fashion industry?

It is simply the greatest satisfaction any artist / designer could get.

Last question. How can people get in touch with you?

We are in the process of posting the items for sale on the Facebook page of Parascandolo Fashion, so definitely there. The long-awaited online store should also be launched around mid-November 2014, so stay tuned!