Marni SS16 was full of the fierce originality and intellectualism we have come to expect from the brand.
The ever eccentric and subversive Consuelo Castiglioni was interested in “using abstraction to question the status quo” this season at Marni. High-minded rebelliousness as always, then, and this time with an architectural bent, as Castiglioni presented a collection full of pieces that were preoccupied with their own structural qualities at the expense of being conventionally form-fitting; many tops and dresses seemed to stiffly hold their own shape, paying little heed to the bodies beneath them – the last three looks in particular were like moving sculptures that protruded out from the shoulder and the leg in diagonally cut blackness as if cut from midnight granite.
An awkward sounding prospect perhaps – and those last ensembles were certainly unconventional – but, as is so often the case with Marni, the awkward, the boxy, and the deliberately strange are carried off and cut with such flourish and elegance that it’s hard to resist their peculiar charm. Vivid leaf prints were formed into dresses or peeped from beneath in the form of sleeves; sleeves, indeed, were variously wide and, in the case of two eye-catching bomber dresses, puffed-up and inflated into typically architectural curves before cascading down into ribbed-cuffs.
Tabards, tunics and various other cuts which made discerning the separate garments in an outfit difficult were all present and correct, as was a heavy use of panelling (another structural nod to the world of building design), often in asymmetrical and complicated ways that exposed the layers beneath. The closest Marni comes to visible branding is their trademark circle pattern, which was riffed on via looks comprised entirely of stitched-together circular pieces – designed to look a little like brightly coloured plastic discs – placed over black scuba body pieces. These scuba-suits turned up time and again, and helped to emphasise the sense that the body itself was really just an anonymous shadow over which to drape Castiglioni’s flights of genius-fancy: it was clever, charming, and ever so Marni.
Words: Benji Walters