The four band members, in Rome in January, lie on the floor dressed in assorted Gucci garb.
Maneskin in their honeymoon period (and in Gucci). From left: Damiano David, Thomas Raggi, Victoria De Angelis and Ethan Torchio.Credit...Guido Gazzilli for The New York Times

The Joy of Dressing Like a Rock God

Maneskin has a new album, a best new artist Grammy nomination and a lot of thoughts on fashion.

Four days before they arrived in New York, just after their third album release and just before their Grammy’s close-up and the next leg of their world tour, the four members of Maneskin, the Italian band with a Danish name that won global recognition after winning Eurovision in 2021, were married in Rome. To one another.

They all wore white: Singer Damiano David, 24, a double-breasted tuxedo, vest and hoop earrings; bassist Victoria De Angelis, 22, a lace veil, draped top, trousers and opera gloves; drummer Ethan Torchio, 22, a full skirt, lace halter, tulle veil and more gloves; and electric guitarist Thomas Raggi, 22, a white top hat and long coat.

They all carried bouquets of blood red roses. Machine Gun Kelly was in the audience; so was the director Baz Luhrmann.

Alessandro Michele, the former creative director of Gucci, officiated in “the name of Apollo, Elvis and Jimmy Page” — not to mention global promotion for all involved. (They aren’t polyamorous, just best friends.) And thus was the relationship between fashion and rock consecrated yet again.

To be fair, this was no rush to the altar (even if “Rush!” is the name of Maneskin’s new album). The two industries have been hot ’n’ heavy over each other for decades, but rarely has a young band used fashion to amplify and extend its message with quite as much eye-popping cheer as Maneskin. From the time it burst onto the global scene in Rotterdam in metallic burgundy leather lace-up Etro, looking like the love children of Jimi Hendrix and Abba and belting out “Zitti e Buoni,” the band has become synonymous with a particularly kind of gleeful rock god get-up.

ImageThe foursome, dressed in white, enact a faux wedding. Mr. Michele appears in the background.
Loved up: A scene from the faux wedding in Rome. Alessandro Michele, who officiated, looks on. Credit...via Maneskin

That is in part because of its yearlong ubiquity: more than 6.5 billion streams on Spotify; playing Coachella, “Saturday Night Live” and the #StandUpForUkraine campaign; opening for the Rolling Stones; collaborating with Iggy Pop and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine; contributing a song to the “Elvis” soundtrack; and performing at the MTV Video Music Awards, where the band was nominated for three awards, won one and Ms. De Angelis experienced a wardrobe malfunction during their performance that became something of a viral cause célèbre.

And thanks to working with Mr. Michele, who gave the Maneskin quartet a hot mess of a wardrobe inspired by rock icons past: chaps and leather G-strings, sequins and grommets and dog collars and pearls; velvets and feathers and ’70s flares (and a tendency to take it all off the more heated things become). In a world where the greatest musical image-makers generally sprinkle their favors across the fashion landscape — hello, Beyoncé — they may be the best argument for commitment between brand and band since David Bowie hooked up with Kansai Yamamoto.

Now, however, Mr. Michele, who once described his relationship with Maneskin by saying, “When we finally met, it was like when you have sex for the first time with the person you like and you say, ‘It was obvious that we were going to make love in an extraordinary way,’” has departed Gucci. The new album is about the darker side of fame; they know the honeymoon period can’t last forever.

The band, which has been playing together since they were teenagers and still talks like kids lounging around a basement at home, spent some time ruminating on clothes, music and what happens next.

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Credit...Guido Gazzilli for The New York Times

Does it surprise you that your clothes have become such a talking point?

Victoria De Angelis What we’re doing is very different from what is the norm in Italy or how Italy is often represented. So I think somehow it’s making a big impact whether people like it or not.

Damiano David Our clothes are like a billboard that says: “We are here. Look at us.” It’s a way to make ourselves and our message more readable and more impactful. We always had the view that to make it, we had to take care of the whole 360 — not just the music but how we look and how we use social media and how we play, what we play, where we play. Our attitude.

So you dressed like this from the beginning?

VA I think it’s something that has helped us develop our personalities as a way to empower ourselves. Especially growing up in Rome in the neighborhood where we grew up. It’s very conservative. In high school everyone looked at us like we were freaks because we were playing and dressed up weirdly. If you go to London or Berlin, no one cares what you’re wearing. But in Rome, if you walk on the street, boys wearing makeup or stuff like that, everyone is looking like you’re the Devil.

Thomas Raggi The first time we met Ethan was really hippie, braids, tie-dye, socks, sandals.

Ethan Torchio Rainbows. I liked a lot of rainbows.

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Credit...via Maneskin

VA I had different phases. I went through, like, a punk and dark gothic phase, and then I was very hippie and then just very camp, very eccentric. Lot of colors and stuff.

TR I discovered style in general really late. At the beginning I was like a normal teenager with a hoodie and pants. But in the last two years, I completely switched in another direction: ’70s suits and stuff like that.

DD Before playing in the band, I used to play basketball. I was into sports.

VA In the beginning I encouraged the guys to be more crazy. I remember the first time we were all together at my house playing, and they were like, “Oh, maybe it would be cool to wear eyeliner, but maybe it’s too crazy.’” And I was like: “No, let’s do it. Who cares?” At first they just needed that courage. But then when we were in it, they all started having so much fun with it, and we all developed together. It was like we were building this image in our head of who we wanted to be and what we wanted to do.

How did it change over time?

DD When we were busking on the streets, we had to make ourselves visible, to make ourselves loud, to attract people. So I think that’s sort of where it started.

TR We used to go to vintage shops and buy things and put together as many things as possible. We were kind of peacocks working for the crowd. I remember finding this cool leather jacket I still have in my wardrobe.

ET Vintage stores and also the Sunday street market, where you start at, like, 5 a.m.

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Credit...Romano Nunziato/NurPhoto, via Getty Images

VA When we went on the Italian “X Factor” in 2017, it was a big change. We had access to all these crazy costumes and clothes. That’s when we started being more daring, with latex, more revealing, even if we had very bad taste at the time. Being conservative has always pissed us off quite a lot. So it was a message saying, “OK, this is who we are, and we don’t care if you’re going to criticize.” Then, when we started working with Gucci, it brought us to another level, and we had the chance to create so many specific looks. We were able to really set our creativity free.

What do you look for in what you wear onstage?

DD I like simple shapes. I think it’s mainly because I have to sing, so my chest and belly have to move because otherwise I run out of oxygen. How I dress reflects the kind of person I am because there are more things I don’t like than things I like. And that’s why my wardrobe is just four colors. That’s exactly how I live my life. I like four to 10 people and four colors: black, white, brown and military green. Nothing else.

ET I just like to be naked.

TR The way I dress is very connected to how I feel. If you play a ballad wearing all this kinky stuff, it’s not going to be very comfortable. If I have to write music, I have to be dressed in a certain way because I want different vibes.

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Credit...Amy Harris/Invision, via Associated Press
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Credit...Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
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Credit...Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

VA With Gucci, we design our clothes together. So we really had the chance to come out with a lot of ideas, with all our references and bands we love. We wanted to speak up and blend all these lines of what’s considered feminine or masculine, gender norms and stereotypes on the body, especially the woman’s body being so much more sexualized. We played the V.M.A.s, and there was this big scandal for my nipples coming out, even though Damiano’s butt was literally naked and all the boys were shirtless. The best part is when people tell us: “You gave me the courage to dress the way I wanted. Before I was like too ashamed.”

DD It’s about freedom. What Gucci did was kind of break the rules about this collection is for women, so only women can wear it, and this is how you have to build an outfit and blah blah, blah, blah, blah. We feel it really relates to what we’re trying to do with our music.

What is the contractual situation with Gucci right now?

DD No comment. We can’t talk about our contract!

Can you ever imagine designing your own collection?

VA We get a lot of proposals to make our own collections, and that would be very fun to do someday. We also think it’s really nice to give smaller and independent brands the chance to collaborate and do fun stuff with us.

TR Today I want to wear more ’90s inspiration — very baggy suits and trousers.

VA I think we are going to change and develop. But not something drastic. Just day by day, and then when you look back, you’re like, “OK, it was very different then.”


This conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.