“Fashion doesn’t put you at a distance, like art does. What gives it its power is its banality.

The semiotician Luca Marchetti, at his home in Paris, June 28, 2022.

By immersing himself in semiotics, the science of communication signs, Luca Marchetti knew that this learning would flourish his curious nature, but he was under no illusions: “That’s not how I’ll find a job. » All the rest of his journey has undeceived him. With an Italian volubility enlivened by a touch of accent, Luca Marchetti, 50, has made a business out of his discipline.

By serendipity, he embarked on professional life when the fashion sector was seeking to mature thanks to the wise advice of theoreticians in its genre. Thus he became a semiotician consultant for various brands, which remunerate him for his analyzes, often requiring the confidentiality of the exchanges. “In twenty-five years of career, fashion has not ceased to become more complex”, he notes, seated on the terrace of the Parisian apartment he shares with her visual artist husband, a shelf overloaded with fine books, a Le Corbusier armchair and a Michele De Lucchi lamp.

At its beginnings, the orders betrayed the obsessions of the moment and often resembled each other. “How to define the Parisienne? », the foreign claws asked him, in the hope of seizing this troubled figure to better orient their advertisements. “What does white refer to? », wanted to know a big house. And another, green.

“As soon as a brand wants to exist on a large scale, it is obliged to communicate through culture, and therefore to analyze it. Otherwise, it makes mistakes: I still remember an Italian brand that installed a red lacquered door in a Chinese department store. A misstep. She swore that it was a way of celebrating the craft of lacquer, in China, red refers above all to communism…”

An oracle for brands

Luca Marchetti, who works on his own or for The Prospectivists agency, which he co-founded in 2020, is also there to prevent such failures. Its customers, from the fast fashion or big names in luxury, but also companies in the automobile, food, cosmetics, finance, and even NGOs, like Greenpeace, probe it with the eagerness of lost souls consulting a clairvoyant. What will femininity look like tomorrow? What will comfort mean? And mobility?

“Four or five times, big brands, who were struggling to properly explain their DNA to their new employees, came to me and said: “Sales are working, but we no longer know who we are.” »Luca Marchetti

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