AT HOME WITH CAROLINA CASTIGLIONI
Born from fashion royalty – Marni’s Castiglioni clan – Plan C is the new(ish) Italian label flipping Milanese style on its head
When Consuelo Castiglioni announced that she would be departing Marni in 2017, the fashion world gasped. Launching the brand with her husband Gianni in 1994, she built a fashion powerhouse with a distinctive, offbeat, style that spoke to the kind of women who wanted to look interesting rather than safe or sexy.
But then there was a collective sigh of relief as Consuelo’s daughter, Carolina Castiglioni – who was Director of Special Projects at Marni – decided to launch her own label: Plan C.
“We thought it was a pity to leave all the knowledge, learnings and contacts behind,” Carolina says of her decision to return to fashion in 2018. “We decided to start following our own rules.”
The ‘rules’, according to the Castiglionis, are made to be broken. Like Marni, Plan C subverts the cliché that Milanese style is all about rigorous eleganza. Colours are unexpected, silhouettes sculptural. Chunky sandals are worn with thick socks (naturally). It’s odd, in the best possible way. “Milanese style is super classic and elegant,” Carolina says. “But for me, a bit boring. I always lived in another kind of aesthetic.”
Carolina’s home – a ceramic tile factory in a former life – is her moodboard writ large. Mid-century furniture and modern art jostle for space with vintage finds unearthed at markets and seasoned with curiosities including miniature Vitra chairs, matchboxes and metal birds. Cocktail-making paraphernalia reveals that this is a home with an appreciation for la dolce vita. In a photo on the bookshelves, Carolina’s children wear T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Do more of what makes you happy”. It could be a Castiglioni motto.
“We’re a family of collectors. I like to mix different things, and experiment mixing new with vintage…it’s very personal,” says the designer of her interior style – an eclecticism that is echoed in her collections. “I design what I like,” she says. “It’s a reflection of what I’m wearing.” Today that means a sunshine-yellow sweatshirt featuring a print of her own daughter and a friend at ballet practice, and a billowing skirt that almost swallows her. Carolina’s triumph is always to infuse her designs – however exuberant or quirky – with a sense of ease.
Like Marni, Plan C is also a family affair. Carolina’s father is CEO and her brother, Giovanni, is Head of Operations, helping to run the business out of the palazzo that used to house her grandmother’s fur atelier. Today she shares the space with her sister-in-law’s jewellery line, Aliita.
Carolina is also continuing the family tradition of pushing boundaries. “I always try to find a combination of colours that makes people say, ‘No it’s too much’ – but then when they see it they think, Actually it’s nice.” Her current obsession is mixing different shades of green.
Plan C’s SS20 collection is as vibrant, expressive and artistic as you’d expect. Graphic polka dots, hothouse florals and bursts of jungle red, shamrock and citrus take their place alongside whites and neutrals. Wardrobe classics – like crisp shirting, tailored trousers and trenches – are disrupted with unexpected touches: a zingy colour-pop collar or an outsized cut. Accessories are decorated with doodles by Carolina’s daughter Margherita.
“I have to be comfortable, but always special,” Carolina says of her own approach to getting dressed. No doubt it will resonate with the Plan C woman.
“I don’t like to be too banal,” she says. “I have to have something – a colour or a shape – that makes me feel different.”
Scroll down to shop Carolina’s outfit below.