Martina Grasselli knows how to create objects of desire with shiny heels, straps made from jewels, interesting platforms and an array of colors. The creative mind behind Coliac dove head first into the world of footwear design only a few years ago and her sought-after label, “Coliac”, is sold in renowned boutiques in Italy and across Europe.
She says she’d like to be selling online soon, and we can hardly wait. Don’t miss out on the interview here at So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins with Martina, one of the newest and hottest names in Italian footwear design today.
SO CATCHY!: How did you come up with the idea of creating a brand of footwear?
Coliac Martina Grasselli: I have always wanted to create something personal. After my degree at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti di Milano) in Fashion and Textile design, I started with an internship that turned into a job, at Stella McCartney. There I contributed to the development of accessories, leather goods and bijoux. After that, I had very interesting collaborations with Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Louboutin. Coliac was a natural progression, as the world of accessories comprises many of these characteristics. Jewels or shoes can totally change one’s look, and they are both design and fashion items.
SC!: Define the style of Coliac:
CM: Surreal and ironic, Dada.
SC!: You founded Coliac in 2009. Has it been difficult? I mean, to create a name in the market…
CM: It was hard, especially economically. I built everything myself, without any help. It was however a formative path, that helped me in building who I am. You must be brave and independent for this kind of job. In a way, you must be reckless.
SC!: How did you start in the business? Any help?
CM: I had my first internship at Stella McCartney, dividing myself between Milan and Bergamo and participating for their fashion shows in Paris. It ‘was a period of training which has been very important to me, because I followed the whole product development, from design to material selection. Later, I had the opportunity to have other important collaborations with Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Louboutin.I met many important Italian and I have subsequently helped my personal project … In 2009 I decided to devote myself to Coliac … I did exhibitions in Paris, turned to shops until I met my current showroom SPAZIO 38…
SC!: Where do you produce your shoes?
CM: Between two Italian regions, Marche and Emilia Romagna.
SC!: How is the process to create your shoes? From the sketch to the shoe…
CM: I believe that my shoes are elegant but also ironic, serious and funny. Inspiration comes from art, and different artists inspire me and give me the possibility to transform the emotions I feel into artistic creations. I am fond of the Decò period, both in art and in interior design; Malevich, Russian Constructivism, Bauhaus and the graphic research of Sonia Delaunay inspire my creations. I try to transmit to the artisans and factories I collaborate with my artistic mood and they have learnt to translate my feelings into actual creations. Before, COLIAC was a bijoux brand only, but later I decided to broaden my perspective and embrace the whole world of accessories. My shoes are like white canvasses; therefore installing jewels on them came natural to me and this is now one of the most important aspects of my brand. Details are fundamental, especially metallic and decorative elements.
SC!: How is the woman who wear your shoes?
CM: The woman who wears my shoes is sophisticated, modern and strong.
SC!: Do you plan to create another accessories?
CM: Someday I’d like to design jewelry and small handbags.
SC!: Do you plan to sell online?
CM: Yes, soon
SC!: What’s your impossible dream?
CM: There are no impossible dreams, I am fulfilling all I was planning to do.
SC!: The perfect shoe for you is…
CM: A shoe that makes the look, which you can notice.
SC!: Footwear designers you admire…
SC!: Do you follow any Instagram accounts?
CM: They are extremely important; I use them a lot and I am in contact with lots of boutiques that sell COLIAC.
SC!: A word of advice for those who want to start a business in the fashion world…
CM: Persistance and recklessness
SC!: You can’t stop wearing…
CM: My red lipstick and my black jackets.
Photos courtesy of Martina Grasselli
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla