Massimo Giorgetti of MSGM is the new king of Milan
The Cities Without Houses member and superstar creative director is the next big thing in Italy’s industrial capital
Monday 26 September 2022 By Teo van den Broeke Photography by Diego Diaz
Attending an MSGM show feels a bit like spending an hour at a funfair after dropping acid. The brainchild of founder and creative director Massimo Giorgetti, the brand’s seasonal collections are high-energy, technicolour, co-ed affairs, and the clothes that pepper his stores, like fabric and faux-fur candy drops, are alive with his creativity. Cashmere tracksuits in fluoro hues of magenta and lime rub hems with ruched floral maxi dresses and acid marbled parkas, and the effect is nothing short of arrestare.
Giorgetti, whose brand’s headquarters is situated in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Porta Romana (just a stiletto’s throw from the Fondazione Prada), may be one of Milan’s most exciting new creative forces, although his route into fashion was anything but straightforward. Born in the Italian seaside resort town of Rimini (the bold sun yellows and sea blues of which he has referenced in many of his bright collections), Giorgetti trained as an accountant before taking a job in a boutique in his hometown.
It was from there that Giorgetti’s interest in clothes flourished. The 45-year-old designer, who looks a bit like a movie star – part Harrison Ford, part Marcello Mastroianni – founded MSGM in Milan in 2009, and since then the label has grown into a multinational fashion force, boasting more than 600 points of sale, stockists in far reaching locations like Tokyo and Seoul, celebrity fans including Beyoncé, Dua Lipa and Hailey Bieber, and a business worth $45m.
'MSGM is ironic, irreverent and it’s about not taking yourself too seriously. Wearing our clothing means letting go.'
It’s an impressive feat in a city like Milan, which is arguably the most conservative of the world’s fashion capitals. The Camera Della Moda’s fashion week calendar reads like a who’s who of industry superstars, laced throughout with storied names such as Giorgio Armani, Prada, Brunello Cucinelli, Gucci and Max Mara, so for Giorgetti’s brand – a vowel-free anagram of his name – to have cut through is testament to his talent.
In 2015, Giorgetti began a two-year stint as creative director of LVMH-owned brand Emillio Pucci, which seemed a natural home for the colour and print-obsessed designer, before he left in 2017 to focus on his own label. ‘My experience with Emilio Pucci, one of the most representative and historic brands in fashion was an inspiring journey, which has also contributed to my professional growth,’ Giorgetti told The Business of Fashion. ‘Today my brand needs more and more of my attention and all my energy.’
In addition to being Milan’s bright, young, creative hope, Giorgetti – who showed his wedding-inspired SS23 collection in the city this weekend – is also a member of Soho House’s Cities Without Houses in Milan, which gives members access to Soho House locations globally when they travel and access to events in their home city.
We spoke to Giorgetti on the eve of his SS23 show to learn more about his new collection, his love of Milan, and what being a Soho House Cities Without Houses member means to him.
'What I love about Soho House is the idea of pulling together creatives: its ability to create real connections and mix great energies.'
Tell us about your new collection, Massimo
‘“Forever, Always, Per Sempre…” is the title of the new collection. I was inspired by marriage, only translated in a kind of ironic way, in line with MSGM’s aesthetic. Our interpretation of marriage is a post-pandemic vision, influenced by the return of celebrations with a new perspective, the rise of digital, and getting back to socialising and celebrating life.
‘MSGM’s idea of marriage doesn’t feature a classic bride dressed in white, but combines the traditional cuts, fabrics and colours that represent the brand’s identity – our iconic fluorescent yellow being a prime example. It’s feminine, irreverent, scratchy and cool, with a major return to what we’re about as a label.’
What have your inspirations been this season?
‘The idea of our irreverent “MSGM” marriage was born from the “marriage/ massacre” scene from Tarantino’s film Kill Bill. It was also inspired by Dazed & Confused’s June 1999 issue, which featured Milla Jovovich in bridal garments.’
Who do you see your customer being? What do you think young people want from fashion brands now?
‘The young customer is looking for the truth (in its totality). With the rise of social media and availability of information about the inner workings of the fashion system, the customer is paying closer attention than ever to the quality of fabrication and the final product. MSGM produces all of its fabrics in Italy with great attention and respect towards the garment’s value, all the while keeping a balanced price.’
What does Milan mean in the world of fashion? What does the city bring to the global fashion conversation?
‘I believe Milan still represents the best in pret-a-porter: real, wearable clothes. As for the business side of things, this city has a huge strength as most of the fashion industry’s partnerships, licenses and contracts get signed here.’
Which young Milanese designers do you admire? What do you think makes them exciting?
‘I love Andrea Adamo, and ACT N°1. I like what Nicola Brognano is bringing to Blumarine and Marco Rambaldi’s romanticism. I really like Filippo Grazioli too and wish him good luck for his new chapter at Missoni.’
You’re one of very few young brands to have broken through Milan’s quite stuffy/ established scene in recent years. Why is that? Has it been a hard journey for you?
‘I think MSGM is one of the few young labels that has been established in Milan recently, and that’s something that makes me very proud. It wasn’t easy to grow as a brand; you need to accept a lot of compromises. It often results in the creative (me) having to set aside their creative impulse and more closely develop the business side of things. We anticipated the logo trend. The MSGM Milano logo was launched in 2010 and it rode that wave.
‘Sometimes I feel that I’ve lost a bit of my indie side, which is something that has always been part of my character. That I miss, but I aim to try and bring that side of me into what I do when I can. It’s not been easy, but after 12 years I’m finally realising what I have achieved and I’m really proud of it. What’s good and bad at the same time is not having the time to stop. The hard work must always continue, which means you always have to commit yourself and make sacrifices. Above all this, you must always be curious. I learn new things every day. If you don’t have this quality in the fashion industry, you’re not ready to work in it.’
Why should everyone be wearing MSGM?
‘MSGM is ironic, irreverent and it’s about not taking yourself too seriously. Wearing our clothing means letting go and taking a few steps away from your everyday routine (always keeping it cool).’
What do celebrities mean to your brand?
‘Today’s celebrities need to be both inspirational and aspirational figures. Their image, follow-up and power on social media has already had a strong impact on fashion sales for quite some time. We’re not as popular for nightlife fashion, but we are strong in the area of everyday outfitting. On the womenswear side, Dua Lipa and Hailey Bieber are the celebrities who have worn our looks best. For menswear, this can be said of Italian singers Ghali and Mahmood. When it comes to influencers and content creators, like TikTokers, I feel that lately I’ve been more interested in smaller profiles who create authentic content, as opposed to bigger ones that feel made up.’
'With the rise of social media and exposure of the inner workings of the fashion system, the customer is paying closer attention than ever to the quality of the final product.'
Your HQ has won awards for design, does interior design interest you, too? Why did you choose Porta Romana as the location?
‘Porta Romana feels like my safe environment, both professionally and privately. Our offices have always been here. We only recently moved the HQ to a bigger space that could accommodate the growth of the MSGM family. My taste in interior design is well-known, many newspapers have in fact acknowledged that fact. The new HQ in Viale Piceno, Milan, is a 4,000 mq brutalist building. Interiors are definitely a big passion of mine; I’d like to include this field as an added chapter in my career.’
You’re a member of Soho House Cities Without Houses. What does that membership mean to you?
‘I’m a proud member, and a huge fan. Membership at Soho House Cities Without Houses is about intimacy, democracy, inclusivity, and allowing members to create cosmopolitan connections.’
What do you think of Soho House Cities Without Houses as a general concept? Do you see it helping/ supporting young creatives?
‘What I love about Soho House is the idea of pulling together creatives: its ability to create real connections and mix great energies.’
What’s your favourite place to eat in Milan?
In first place, the Langosteria, with its discrete luxury and fabulous dishes, the Trattoria del Pescatore (Via Atto Vannucci) for its quality and research into ingredients, and La Trebia, which people are very loyal to.’
And the best spots for a drink?
‘Bar Basso remains one of my favourites – the Sbagliato and Americano cocktails are a must, while Dabass and Il Nemico in Porta Romana are increasingly attracting the attention of the neighbourhood’s cool kids. Moving towards Navigli, you’ll find the city’s best bartenders at Rita.’
What’s your favourite place to shop?
‘Of course, La Rinascente, but only if you have time during the week, as it’s very overcrowded at the weekend. Antonia is one of the best in Milano, also because she’s a friend and a wonderful human. If you want something darker and more underground, definitely Antonioli. If you’re looking for sneakers, you could stop by Slam Jam and One Block Down.’
The best places to take in culture in Milan?
‘I’m a Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli lover. I’m definitely a Prada lover. I will never thank them enough for bringing Fondazione Prada to Milan, and I’m sorry that other big brands have brought so little to this city. The Prada family has really given. I also like the Triennale and Museo del Novecento, even though I’d rather visit exhibitions around the world rather than in Milan.
‘I invite all members to come and visit my gallery in Porta Romana, Ordet (ordet.org). It’s a gallery that I have in partnership with a curator and a gallery manager. It was my first MSGM office, which has become an independent contemporary art gallery, and I’m very proud of it. Very proud.’
For more information about Soho House Cities Without Houses membership, click here.