Explorer princesses tread the catwalk for Antonio Marras
A lace-trimmed satin slip dress showing alongside a khaki military-style suit with python skin lapels felt like two worlds colliding. The twin worlds which Italian designer Antonio Marras chose to delve into this season, blending them poetically without ever losing sight of his outfits’ functionality.
The Antonio Marras Spring/Summer 2019 collection, which the Sardinian designer showed in Milan on Friday, is inspired by the story of princess Romanework, elder daughter of Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Abyssinia. In 1937, after her father's kingdom was conquered by Mussolini, Romanework was exiled on the isle of Asinara, off Sardinia, something of a Mediterranean Alcatraz.
“I wanted to tell the story of a passage from one place and one world to another, where the memories of the past are evoked by embroidery, lace and other rare decorations, while the wardrobe of the exiled princess adapts to her journey into a new land, one she gradually gets to know, by the addition and layering of new elements,” said Antonio Marras backstage.
Marras combines, for example, a lace brassiere top with a pair of drawstringed combat trousers, while a sleeveless hoodie is decorated with flower and pearl appliqué. A black dress with red flower embroidery is trimmed in shining leopard print, the same which cuts in swathes along an oversized yellow nylon wind-breaker, while elsewhere the white polka dots on a black pleated dress blend with cheetah spots.
Africa is indeed ubiquitous in this collection, with which Marras travels across the desert and the savanna, a journey that is part safari, part jungle exploration. References to wild or exotic animals abound. From the brightly coloured feathers embellishing a khaki jacket, to the python-effect yoke inlaid on the back of a military top, or a series of patchwork outfits with contrasting leopard and zebra prints.
The finishing touches to these explorer-princess outfits are provided by sumptuous ‘plant’ hats, rising high above the head and peeping out of cascading ferns or a tracery of branches in bloom, on which myriad butterflies rest. Poetic little masterpieces by flower designer Tonino Serra.
From garden to jungle, the colour green, in hues ranging from khaki to lime, is the thread running through the entire collection. Antonio Marras summed it up by quoting Sardinian writer Sergio Atzeni: “There are two colours in the world, and green is the second one.”
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