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One Minute With … Perry Ellis Designer Michael Maccari

Image: Imaxtree

Image: Imaxtree

It’s been three years since Perry Ellis showed at New York Fashion Week and yesterday, we were reminded of just how much we missed the label’s presence on the scene. Perry Ellis returns with newly-minted Creative Director Michael Maccari, who is breathing new life into the house with a fresh take on Perry’s aesthetic. We caught up with the designer backstage at his debut show for the label to chat about the future of Perry Ellis and how he plans to “retool” the brand.

theFashionSpot: We love your shoes!

Micheal Maccari: Thanks, you’ll be seeing more of them in the show!

tFS: How small do they run because…we think we’re gonna need a pair.

MM: We’ll see if we can get them produced! But right now, they’re big, like 12 1/2.

tFS: So, you’re here to kind of revitalize Perry Ellis.

MM: We’re calling it “retooling.” I think the marketing team has done an amazing job over the last few years with the new campaign and new marketing image. This is just here to layer on top and go along with that, and bring it forward.

tFS: So tell us a little about the inspiration behind this collection.

MM: I did a lot of research on Perry and he always was inspired by nature and his surroundings. He was also very akin to the art world. My surroundings are the grids of the city, and especially walking to and from the office — we work on 43rd and 6th in the Hippodrome, which is an old menswear building. Beautiful lines and grids and shapes. I kind of used a lot of that for the graphic element that’s in the show. Sean Scully, who is an artist who works a lot with linear, color-on-color and tiling of grids as well. We used some of the inspiration from there. 

Image: Imaxtree

Image: Imaxtree

tFS: What are you hoping to bring to Perry Ellis?

MM: I’d like to open up the versatility of the wardrobe. I think in the last 20 years, we’ve sold really well in terms of the printed shirts and suit separates. I kind of want to layer on more ammunition for this casual, elegant lifestyle. We’re pushing a “go anywhere” kind of look, so we’ve got a lot of active layers and lightweight layering for spring. More versatility in product and offering a larger range of knitwear and lightweight outerwear. Also, sweaters for spring.

tFS: Well, you need them for spring.

MM: Of course! Listen, we have to design for the global climate at this point. Somewhere, someone is wearing a sweater in spring.

tFS: And fur in the summer!

MM: Right!

tFS: What would you say was your favorite piece in this collection?

MM: It’s hard, but I think for me the sweaters overall are my most favorite pieces. When I think back to Perry and the history and archive I have of his pieces, sweaters really stand out. I was really excited that we were able to continue that legacy of the sweater dressing the man.

tFS: What are you going to do to unwind after this madness is over?

MM: Go out and get some drinks with my team, and then we’re going to chill out and start fall immediately. We’re already a bit late on that!

images: Imaxtree

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