Born in France 1962 to a Swedish mother and Franco-Italian father, Marcel Marongiu’s life has been a study in contrasts.

He was educated by Catholic nuns according to the strict rules of his father’s line, nobility that traces back to the year 1205. But once his parents divorced, when he was still a young boy, and Marongiu went back to Sweden with his mother, what was once repressive and rules-based cracked wide open. Marongiu’s mother had very different family values. So of course his first footstep onto the path of adulthood was a rather lame attempt at a square life studying economics. Bad idea. He switched to Stockholm’s prestigious fine art school Konsthogskolan before deciding even that was too much of a drag and dropping out. David Bowie, Kounellis, Motherwell, De Kooning and Visconti seemed enough as inspiration and guidelines.

There was too much fun to be had running around Stockholm’s outlandish 1980s nightlife. The next logical step after club culture was fashion. Pulling from his father’s aristocratic straight spine and his mother’s diehard eccentricity, Marongiu established an eponymous womenswear brand in 1993 that became an overnight success. Paris called. He was named by industry bible Womenswear Daily as one of the ten most influential designers in global fashion. Grace Jones, Julia Roberts and Madonna were clients. After a prosperous run into the early aughts, Marongiu closed his company to focus on interior design, only to rejoin fashion in 2008 as the creative director of the storied French couture house Guy Laroche. Lady Gaga became a fan. 

But Marongiu could never get painting out of his system. It haunted him. It gave him uniquely profound access to his own emotions, demons and dreams. 

Three years ago, Marongiu decided to dedicate his creative energy to painting, with a little tableware and interior design on the side. It may seem a strange decision in our digital age to switch over to something so eccentric, one of a kind and handmade, but the disembodiment of our current era was what made pursuing painting so important. 

“Painting is intuitive and subjective, the imprint of an active body committed to a creative act,” says Marongiu. “My abstract work stems from my obsession with mythology and archetype. My portraits come from a darker place, picking up on my family history as well as historical characters who have survived the insanity and violence of their times.”

© photographe

'Why do I bother with painting in the age of the all-powerful digital image? Because it’s intuitive and subjective, made of time and of depth. Because it’s the print of an active body committed to a creative act.'

© photographe

‘Reconnecting with my initial passion for painting, I have developed and intertwined both abstract and the figurative. At first sight, it might seem violent and bold but ultimately it is direct, sincere and honest.’

Born in Paris and raised in Stockholm, Swedish mother and Franco-Italian father. After studies; economics and fine art, I launched my own women’s wear fashion label ‘marcel marongiu’ and the men’s line was launched in 2002.

1989, I staged my first fashion show in Paris. Rapidly, I got international recognition and in 1991, I moved my company to Paris.

1994, I was ranked as one the 10 most influential designers in the world.

In, 2000 I launched a full tabletop collection in collaboration with Artoria, a high-end porcelain manufacturer in Limoges. The products are still in production today.

2002–present: I am the consulting creative director of a China based women’s wear company EITIE, supervising a team of designers, designing logotypes, store concepts and the collections as well as directing the advertising campaigns.

In 2012, 3 SUISSES invited me to create an exclusive capsule collection of 5 jersey dresses (previous collaborations include ALAIA, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yohji Yamamoto, among others).

From 2007 to 2014, I was the creative director at Guy Laroche, in charge of designing the main line and accessories as well as overseeing our collaborations with the 85 licensees around the world. I established the guidelines for the licensed products – from apparel to watches. Furthermore, I was in charge of the global

image: logotypes, store concepts, advertising campaigns, fashion shows.

Some of the celebrities that I have dressed: Madonna, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Emma Stone, Eva Longoria, Grace Jones, Isabelle Huppert.