Nicolai Marciano Is Bringing Back Heritage Classics For Guess Originals
The son of Paul Marciano comes into his own as he reimagines the brand’s roots.
With the newly released Guess Originals Kit Program, it’s hard not to get a sense of nostalgia. Nicolai Marciano, Guess’ Director of Brand Partnerships and Specialty Marketing drew inspiration from the family brand’s extensive archive, paying close attention to the detail from the fashion once worn in the decades past. Consisting of wardrobe essentials that tap into the next generation’s desire for elevated leisurewear, the spring collection offers an array of timeless pieces with a vintage feel, reminding fans of the brand of their core classics. V’s Kevin Ponce spoke with Marciano about the concept behind the new program and how he sees it developing in the years to come.
Kevin Ponce: For those who are not familiar with Guess Originals, how would you explain this collection?
Nicolai Marciano: Guess Originals is reinterpreting the era of the eighties to mid-nineties and what that represented for the company, in terms of aesthetic, styles, [and] fabrications. It really is a new perspective on what Guess was founded on and also offers a platform to work with different people collaboratively in the younger kind of Gen Z space. This collection’s vibe is very California—a lot of the collections we do always tend to lean into [the] California lifestyle [and] youth culture.
KP: It feels very archival to me, with the fonts, colors, and silhouettes and it’s also reminiscent of a pastime. Did you tap into the Guess archives when you sourced inspiration for this lineup?
NM: Yeah definitely! For the Originals program, most of the inspiration does come from there, whether that’s from graphics or even fabrics—one way or another, it’s mostly coming out of the archive. This is the first collection in a long time that we’re putting a lot of focus on denim. That’s also our roots and something that we’re really excited to kind of get back into. We’re also introducing our kit program with this collection, or our evergreen program of core essentials, whether that’s denim, knits, sweats, t-shirts, [and] sweatshirts but having a consistent offering for the Originals customer on a yearly basis.
KP: What’s something that you’ve learned or seen in the archive that has changed the way you approach future collections?
NM: I think [in] a lot of the old references, you notice [the] different styles, techniques, and approaches to things and I think that’s something that’s always very interesting for us. A lot of the time when it comes to different embroidery or graphics, I don’t think [those] are as common today and [that is] really refreshing to see. I think it’s interesting because [the] era of the eighties and nineties of dressing comfortably [and] casual is kind of the norm of today. So a lot of the things that you’d see that we’re making or things that you’d see in the archives, people would consider streetwear, but it’s really what we were founded on. It’s an interesting cycle of fashion [but] this kind of style of fashion is here to stay forever because it’s just more acceptable to be casual all the time.
KP: Being that Guess is a family brand, what values or aesthetics do you take from your own family and try to incorporate into the Guess lineups?
NM: I think quality is in everything that we do and having integrity when it comes to all of it. Something that my dad feels strongly about [is that] everything that we make has to have a certain level of quality to it and what would be sacrificed for a business purpose. So delivering a quality product and experience to the customer is I think really important for us. Something more specific to Paul is that he’s not afraid to do colorful things and have fun with the collections and be a little bit daring when it comes to design and stuff like that. I think that’s something that transforms our department and what we do, too. We don’t like to play it safe when it comes to design, color, aesthetics. We really like to have fun with everything that we do.
KP: Any personal favorites from the collection that you adore/wear yourself?
NM: The carpenter pants are definitely a personal favorite. I’ve been wearing the sample pairs of those for the past couple of months and I love them. I think [I’m] just more excited to grow the denim category in a big way for the customer. In the past, we really built that business heavily when it comes to more of knits, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. Being able to offer a really great quality, styled fit collection of denim on a frequent basis for that customer to incorporate into their lifestyle is something that we’re really excited about. You know, just going back to our roots of what started at all.
KP: So where do you see Guess Originals going in the next five years?
NM: We have a lot of plans for Originals. I think the biggest thing worth mentioning is that we have plans of opening standalone brick-and-mortar stores. We are planning to open in the next 18 months and that’s something that I’m personally super excited for. We want to have something that has a great sense of community. Being able to represent it in the right kind of space and environment for that customer is something that we’re very much looking forward to.