Amid the cacophony of voices at Milan Fashion Week, Marni quietly stole the show. The cult label has never been interested in courting trends, preferring a more experimental approach to style that consistently results in artistic, thought-provoking clothes. For Spring/Summer 2016, designer Consuelo Castiglioni joined the ranks of abstract expressionists with a cutting-edge presentation that was far and away the most creative of the season.
The collection’s minimalist scheme was contrasted by its complex construction, as bluntly cut fabrics were stacked in intriguing arrangements that offered a glimpse at surprising elements beneath. It begged to be studied more closely, but the fast-paced nature of the runway hardly allows for such things. Out first was a sectioned teal dress topped with a stiff leather slip that resembled a smithing apron more than it did a dress, and a few seconds later a canary-yellow version popped up on top of a muted jade look that might have been a jumpsuit (albeit one finished with a swishy length of palazzo pants).
As the collection proceeded, Castiglioni emboldened her art associations by spinning the color wheel and presenting off-kilter pairings. She layered stiff nude gilets over yellow mock turtlenecks and wide-knit mesh toppers, and topped chocolate tops with bright red dresses and frosty, paillette-adorned skirts. The heady mix featured several repeated motifs like hard-edge handkerchief hemlines, thick black straps, and asymmetrical accents galore. While experimental in nature, the elongated silhouette and loose-fitting layers made for an extremely comfortable arrangement of looks. Instead of losing itself in minimalist artistry and abstraction, many of the collection’s looks featured surprising touches of shimmering sequins, feminine leaf prints, and lovely accent pieces made from interesting round discs. All in all, it was fascinating and inspired, offering women a chance to engage in the artistic side of fashion in a dignified and intelligent way. Oscar Wilde once said, “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.” Now’s your chance.