The brand that has become my fashion family

posted on: Friday, 26 August 2016

Wearing a Marina Rinaldi Coat
Just about every fashion obsession I have, at present, I can trace back to a few select moments of drooling over my mother's wardrobe. She had a style that I've spent 30 years trying to live up to and replicate. She could look like a cast member from Urban Cowboy one day and Kim Basinger the next, and she did it with sophistication and confidence... the key, really, to making any ensemble complete. I'll never forget one item in particular, a mid-length shearling coat. It was chocolate brown with a buttery off-white lining. I would wrap myself up in this coat and dream of inheriting it. One afternoon, while running my cheek along the furry lining, my mother turned to me and said, "you know that coat comes from Italy, from one of the my favorite brands, so be careful!" That was the first time my mom introduced me to Marina Rinaldi.

At the time, the only thing I understood about this brand was that it was magical. Truly, Marina Rinaldi was a brand that seemed to create the most luxurious pieces that hung from my mom's closet walls. Sumptuous silk shirts, long wide leg wool trousers and cuddly cashmere coats were all on display with the Marina Rinaldi label. I had the dream, as a teenager, of being able to shop Marina Rinaldi with my mom in Italy, one day in the future. A determined fashion demon was born.

Now, over the past seven years, I have met with more fashion brands than I have time to mention. I've spoken endlessly about design, celebrity endorsements, store openings and more. I've always done so with a passion for what I do that I have thought was unparalleled. I've done so with an excitement about the future. But, never before have I done so with an emotional edge. In Marina Rinaldi, I felt excited for the future, excited for what they stand for in fashion and absolutely gobsmacked by the drive they have to bring luxury to every woman of every size. Something inside me has always been sparked by this brand, and it's about time it came into action.

You see Marina Rinaldi isn't just a luxury label, it's a luxury label that believes all women, no matter their size, should be a part of the fashion world. All too often women are led to believe, by 99.9% of fashion brands out there, that the only size that works is that which exists in the smallest digits possible. In a nutshell, if you aren't small enough to fit into the sizing, you aren't allowed to play the style game. Well Marina Rinaldi couldn't be more different. They cover all sizes. They are worn by all women. In fact, I'm pretty sure their client list, which they do not shout about, would surprise you.

In 1981, Marina Rinaldi was one of first brands to advertise the concept of dressing a "plus size" woman. In 1985, they opened their first store in Paris, following the opening of seven stores in Italy the year before. Over the history of the company, the brand has seen the likes of India Hicks, Tatjana Patitz, Carre Otis, Crystal Renn, Kate Dillon, Patricia Arquette and Alessandra Garcia model in their campaigns, and they've worked with legendary fashion photographs such as Peter Lindbergh, Craig McDean, Patrick Demarchelier, Bruce Weber, Max Vadukul and Ellen Von Unwerth to capture the women. This history doesn't get much more epic. 

Yet, even through all of this incredible fashion history and work towards opening the doors of fashion to a wider audience, I still feel as if they are one of the best kept secrets in fashion. This isn't to say they aren't a recognizable brand. It's more that this is truly a fashion family. Once you become a purchaser with Marina Rinaldi, you are let into an experience that truly is unrivaled. You are looked after, invited in for tea and given a treatment that is what the luxury buying experience should always be but so rarely is in the world of fashion. The experience of shopping is superb, but of course it's all about the actual garment you are buying into, right? 

The Marina Rinaldi team has worked hard to create flattering cuts for all sizes using only the most luxurious original designs and fabrics, throughout their history. And after visiting their atelier in Italy, I can say that this is done with an elegance in work that is reflected in the garment you see hanging in store. Each and every member of the team takes their job very seriously. They work diligently to supply pieces that woman the world over will worship for years to come. Their designers work tirelessly to bring the latest trends to life, while also providing classic cuts and timeless shapes that will last, without fail, for generations to come. I'm living proof of that. Mom, I still have my eye on that shearling coat!
For two days, in July, I was able to ask every question, drool over ever garment, shake the hand of every designer and traverse the city that has been home to the Marina Rinaldi brand for over three decades. I visited the beauty that is Reggio Emilia, Italy. In the beginning, as I met the creative minds behind a brand that has given life to so many fashion dreams, the smile on my face made my cheeks hurt. At the end, those same cheeks were stained with tears. This is perhaps the truest line I have ever written on the blog and it goes a little something like this: In Reggio Emilia, I met my fashion family - a family that was born the same year that I was. Not a coincidence, in my opinion.

That's why I am proud to announce my ambassador role with the brand moving forward. You'll be seeing a lot more Marina Rinaldi on FFG, in style posts (which I absolutely cannot wait to share... wait until you get a closer look at some of these autumn winter beauties), Outfit du Jours and more. This is all in the hopes that I can further highlight a brand that has my full support, not only for its beautiful design but for the way in which this brand has the ability to make every woman, of every shape and size, feel beautiful. I don't think I've ever been able to say that before. And I couldn't feel prouder to say it today. Watch this space. 

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