Marina Rinaldi's recent collaboration with Sara Battaglia has the perfect size-inclusive summer pieces

Hayley Hasselhoff calls for more luxury brands to get on board

Marina Rinaldi campaign imagery
(Image credit: Marina Rinaldi)

From the moment I landed in Milan, the Italian breeze welcomed me as I rolled down my window on the way to my hotel. Instantly, I noticed the air of authenticity and self-expression that permeates the streets through style. I wondered if my heightened senses were due to my excitement for the upcoming fashion event, or if it was the inherent refined edge and sophistication of Italian fashion that we all admire.

As a curve model, actress, and fashion editor, I have the opportunity to travel the globe, attending some of the most amazing events hosted by fashion brands. For a woman whose ethos is expressed through what she wears, feeling inspired by the people and surroundings around you fosters a deeper sense of self and style. Being inspired to reinvent and embrace yourself through fashion daily shouldn’t come with limitations. Yet, even in 2024, being a curve woman still involves navigating a landscape that often lacks inclusivity.

Over the years I have had the privilege to work alongside luxury curve brand Marina Rinaldi and be inspired by their collections, styling them in my daily wardrobe at a time when stylish brands that cater for curves are few and far between. Marina Rinaldi, a pioneer in the luxury curve fashion market, founded in 1980 as part of the Max Mara Fashion Group, has consistently pushed the boundaries of inclusivity with its elegant tailoring, exquisite fabrics and high-quality craftsmanship. Their commitment to innovation and inclusivity is evident through their series of successful collaborations with renowned designers.

Hayley Hasselhoff at Marina Rinaldi fittings

(Image credit: @hhasselhoff)

As an ambassador for the brand, I was invited to Milan to attend the launch of their Marina Rinaldi by Sara Battaglia Fall/Winter 2024 Capsule Collection. This event not only celebrated the collaboration between a leading luxury curve brand and a one high-end designer but also marked their third collaboration, further solidifying their partnership. Additionally, Marina have newly implemented this collection as a see-now-buy-now model.

On the morning of the event, I opened my Italian windows, sipped on a crisp espresso, and got dressed for my fitting at their store opposite the beautiful Duomo. In celebration of another collection launch, I styled myself in archival Marina Rinaldi, opting for a two-piece navy sheen suit with a perfectly crafted embroidered coat to drape on top - layering being the key effect. Whilst attending my fitting ahead of the launch for the brand's collaboration with designer Sara Battaglia later that day, I was invited to preview a much anticipated capsule collection with couture extraordinaire Zuhair Murad that will be available in September.

As the sun began to dip below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the cobblestone streets of Milan, I found myself immersed in a flurry of excitement. The evening held the promise of something extraordinary - a rendezvous with elegance and innovation at the event hosted by Marina Rinaldi and Sara Battaglia. The anticipation mounted as I prepared to step into the enchanting world of Villa Necchi, the backdrop of this illustrious affair. With each step, I felt a surge of exhilaration, knowing that within the garden awaited an evening that would redefine the boundaries of luxury, art and inclusivity. Recognising that this brand has defined a huge part of my style for almost a decade, a moment of convergence, where past and present collided in a celebration of diversity and empowerment.

Sara Battaglia’s bold prints, woven through the scene like threads of inspiration, adorned plush cushions, infusing the space with a burst of colour and energy. As the night unfolded, each moment became a symphony of style and warmth, where the spirit of creativity and inclusivity intertwined with the timeless elegance of Villa Necchi Campiglio.

Hayley and Sara Battaglia at the Marina Rinaldi dinner

Hayley Hasselhoff and Sara Battaglia at the Marina Rinaldi dinner.

(Image credit: @hhasselhoff)

Chatting with the Marina Rinaldi team about the success of the Sara Battaglia collection, I was reminded of the brand's collaborative and immersive experience. Shiela De Pietri, Marina Rinaldi's General Manager, shared, "Designer collabs date back to 2016. Over these 8 years, the partnerships we have developed have certainly contributed to changing the perception of the brand within the fashion industry and among consumers, highlighting the fashion component of our collections, rather than the sizing aspect. If respected fashion talents such as Sara Battaglia (and before her, Marco De Vincenzo, Mary Katrantzou, Fausto Puglisi, Roksanda, to name but a few) are able and willing to design collections that can cater to a much wider target of consumers, more designers will hopefully follow their steps and feel motivated to accept this creative challenge with a truly inclusive approach."

Standing before Sara Battaglia herself, adorned in Marina Rinaldi by Sara Battaglia, we discussed the beautifully crafted designs and their impact on the industry. Sara explained, "Partnering with designers for capsule collections is crucial for luxury curve brands because it brings innovative, high-quality designs that specifically cater to diverse body types. This inclusivity not only meets a growing market demand but also sets a new standard in the industry, challenging traditional norms. Such collaborations elevate the brand image, expand market reach, and drive industry- wide change by promoting representation and inclusivity in luxury fashion. Ultimately, these partnerships demonstrate the viability and importance of diverse designs, leading to a more inclusive and representative fashion industry."

Marina Rinaldi's dedication to inclusivity with each designer collaboration moves the industry forward, allowing curve women to feel represented and designed for in quality pieces that were previously unattainable. As much as I walked in empowered, I left feeling inspired to continue the conversation around the importance of the capsule collections that Marina Rinaldi creates with each designer and the work it is doing to move the dial forward in the industry as a whole.

It is so important for curve women to see themselves represented and designed for, especially in quality pieces that for years have felt far out of reach. Many designers extend their sizing but don't cater to curve bodies with luxury or couture in mind. “It’s so important to bring luxury to plus size fashion because it validates that women of all sizes are worthy of high-end designs. It also shows that you are worthy of buying expensive clothes in the body you’re in right now, you don’t have to wait until you’re in a different body size to wear luxury clothing.” said Katie Sturino, my friend, founder of Megababe, author of Body Talk, and my go-to girl guide.

These collaborations allow women to feel empowered and sexy, with designs tailored to their bodies, and not just with added width. This is the craftsmanship and designed-for mentality you get from designers like Roksanda, Fausto Puglisi, and Sara Battaglia, complemented by Marina Rinaldi's knowledge of defining a womanly figure at all sizes.

Hailey Hasselhoff at Marina Rinaldi dinner

(Image credit: @hhasselhoff)

One of my first memories with Marina Rinaldi was being invited to Milan to attend the capsule collection for Stella Jean in 2016 and being blown away by the artful approach to the event. In 2016 my dear friend and model Alessandra Garcia graced the campaign for Marina Rinaldi x Stella Jean, and she stated, “I think it’s important for luxury curve brands to partner with designers on capsule collections because it further proves that style has no size. You can sell and produce luxury garments for people of all sizes because it’s been proven that there’s a market for that. Customers not only want but deserve high quality, well-designed clothes.”

Continuing down this path championing luxury curve availability, we must ask ourselves how to encourage more designers to partner with luxury curve brands or extend their collections consistently rather than just a season or a performative runway show. My friend, model and influencer Jada Sezer, made a very useful point: “It keeps the brands alive and keeps them interesting but also shows integrity. For all those designers that stepped on the band wagon 5-7 years supporting diversity when it was the ‘done thing’. If you stop supporting advocating now and return to the the narrow idea that thinness is deseriable 1) you'll lose market share and 2) the brand will come across as inauthentic, only aligns with a diversity when it suits them. Brand integrity it one of the most important things you have as a business. Its what sets you apart for your competitors. Conscious consumers can see through the inconsistency and it
leaves a distaste.”

One leader in the market can be a champion for many to come. An evening in a garden can reimagine the mindset for many designers to see that there are women who are desirous to be designed for. As I left Milan, I knew many women were looking forward to the fresh, bold, and bright designs of Marina Rinaldi by Sara Battaglia, inspired for the months ahead.

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