Style and Sardinian sensibilities of Marije

Growing up in the village of Gavoi amid the wild mountains of Barbagia, Sardinia, Mara Piras had a recurrent dream: to make fine fashions with her own brand. That childhood passion has been transformed into action as today she climbs the path as a designer and artisan creating and finishing fine clothing for both women and men.

Her brand Marije has won awards as she continues to conceptualize and craft a range of fine handmade garments.

“I am inspired by some fashion designers from the old time,” she says. “I like the Sorelle Fontana because like me they came from a small village and created artwork dresses. The three Fontana sisters were tailors first, then fashion designers. ”

They were the first stars of the postwar renaissance in Italian fashion and helped transform the face of Italy’s postwar fashion industry. They created the image of La Dolce Vita the very moment Anita Ekberg waded provocatively into the Trevi Fountain in 1959 wearing an iconic dress that the sisters had originally designed a few years earlier for their loyal client Ava Gardner.

Mara Piras began to learn tailoring at just 15 years old, then studied styling in the town of Nuoro. Even before earning a diploma in pattern making she began to create her own designs.

In 2017, her shows won awards at two design events: a prize in January at the Premio Udine Sposa d’Autore for wedding dresses and for a debut of her women’s fashions at the Premio Moda in Materia in June.

“I was so overwhelmed with emotion – I didn’t expect to win,” she recalls.

For Udine Sposa d’Autore, she created bridal dresses that resonate with influences of the past, many inspired by the 1950s with their iconic look of a tight waist and flowing skirts.

The latter collection was inspired by Austrian impressionist Gustav Klimt’s final work, La Donna col Ventaglio (Lady with Fan), which expresses a sensual, sunny woman.

The Marije show in Matera included six satin and georgette dresses in emerald green, blue china and red, embroidered and embellished with small Swarovski crystals.
 Marije of Sardinia, Italy
The designs are a modern re-visitation of retro designs that also use pleats, evoking the pleated creases of the fan carried by the lady in Klimt’s iconic painting.

The outstanding Marije collection inspired by Klimt is available for purchase.

All Marije garments are handmade by Mara herself, beginning from concept to cutting, sewing, fitting and final embellishment. Such creative care and singularity of vision results in fashions that make every woman elegant, says the designer.

“Elegance is beyond the physical appearance of a woman,” she says. “It is from her personality, the way she behaves, and a dress should reflect all of this. Mara enjoys dressing all kinds of physiques, emphasizing the strengths and minimizing any flaws they might have. The image should be self-confident and strong, yet also sweet and romantic.

The designer is also inspired by the history of art and styles of dress in her native Sardinia. She created a pleated dress that took its inspiration from the traditional costumes of her home that won the Manichino d’Oro prize in 2011. Traditional Sardinian costumes and their unique features are an inspiration for Marije, a brand with clear Sardinian origins and cultural awareness.
“This land is like no other, an enchanting space within and distance to be travelled, nothing finite, nothing definite. It is like freedom itself,” wrote writer David Herbert Lawrence while visiting Sardinia.

Mara’s dream is to create a prêt-à-porter collection, essential and versatile, as well as her own corners in her native Sardinia and far beyond.

Today she works from her atelier in Cagliari, where clients will see their dream dress in actual fabrics, custom-made to their size.

Marije is also open to collaborate in creating haute couture with other fashion houses.

Yet her vision remains: to create garments that make every woman look fabulous even if she is not a supermodel. “Style comes from within, from knowing who you are and who you want to be,” says the Sardinian designer.

Marije garments are for self-confident women who don’t want to be somebody else, or wanting to be thinner, shorter, taller or prettier. They are for women who are beautiful simply by believing in themselves.

More Marije fashions