Marni’s tropical fever and sustainable mode
There is a school of thought that Francesco Risso at Marni is the most inventive designer in Milan at the moment, and judging from the feverish and compelling collection that he staged for the brand on Friday, that is a truly sage opinion.
Risso is a properly revolutionary, think-out-of-the-box designer who used a whole slew of recycled materials to create a visually stunning series of looks, even as he ploughed new fashion terrain.
Throughout his three-year tenure at Marni, Risso has created novel concept spaces for his shows, this time placing his guests on a geometric series of recycled cardboard cylinder seats.
But the heart of the matter was a series of wild prints – gestural floral abstractions in primary colors – fused into bold shapes. Risso is such a natural talent, that he was able to whip up cunningly askew summer frocks, bold billowing asymmetrical blouses, saucy courtesan décolleté dresses and massive cabans, that all looked just right.
For grander moments, the young designer sent out couture-worthy oversized blazers and cardigans, finished with hand painted South Sea Island flowers and plant life. And there was a ripple of fist punching in the audience at one magnificent dress, which looked as if it were made from a fisherman’s deep-sea catch of woolen seaweed and castoff nylon fishing line.
"I was imagining waking up and being sick from a tropical malady and these are all the hallucinations, the shivering, the wild dreams. The fine line of how beautiful dreams can be disturbing and how nature can reconnect us with our own time," explained the designer, who took his bow in a lab coat, his face covered in white daubs.
The set featured regenerated palm trees in a green labyrinth courtesy of artist Judith Hopf. And talk about a stunning selection of hairstyles: all the cast had frosted tresses, and several models sprouted aquatic plants – water lilies and other hydrophytes. All backed up by the latest great soundtrack by DJ Frédéric Sanchez, another mash-up climaxed by Toyah’s "Victims of the Riddle."
In a word, an epochal show – an organic Marni that recuperated images from the archive and materials from plastic bottles found in the oceans.
"Honestly, when I hear the word sustainable I get a bit itchy. It’s so easy to use the word, and a lot more difficult to actual realize it. But this is a new beginning as we used so many organic materials like the palms in the set came from using surgical waste. So this is our joyous protest," explained the designer, on the day of a Global Climate Strike.
Reminded of the international protest, the designer laughed: "Actually I should stop talking and go on strike too!"
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