When Consuelo Castiglioni left Marni, the artsy and intellectual types who flocked to her experimental designs mourned. Who could replace such a visionary? It turns out, her successor Francesco Risso held the same highbrow, neoteric outlook that makes Marni one of Milan’s most unpredictable and delightful brands. For Spring/Summer 2019, he turned expectations inside out with a collection that reflected the human touch.
Before you see a finished product on the runway, it has undergone dozens of design changes along the way. But at Marni, Risso dedicated his collection to the original prototype, to show the imperfections and reveal the creative process. The clothes felt unfinished, haphazardly arranged, and Frankenstein’d together – and yet, the results were surprisingly cool and effortless.
The “work in progress” idea is hardly new to fashion. Recall Martin Margiela’s famous ‘Semi Couture’ collections for Spring/Summer 1997 and Fall/Winter 1999, as well as John Galliano’s stunning couture collection for Dior Fall/Winter 2005. However, no one had thought to infuse the idea with leather, and that is where Marni’s atelier proved to be skilled, with pieces that were fabulously draped and held together with exposed seams. Some of the looks – like the unfinished bustiers – took the “unfinished” design challenge literally, while others were covered in cut-outs of Greek statues (that looked like they had been snipped from a magazine) and associated with the theme metaphorically.
To see the guiding hand behind the process is a point of wonder for the fashion intellectual.
As the show progressed, a uniform assembled, comprised of cropped tops or bralettes worn with skirts and topped with loose coats. The coats were covered in naif daubs of paint and maybe, just maybe, you could see an actual fingerprint left behind by its maker if you looked close enough. To see the guiding hand behind the process is a point of wonder for the fashion intellectual. As for the woman who will eventually wear this collection? A leaping off point for a discussion about authenticity.