Show Report

Show Report: Marni A/W 16 Womenswear

by Lucy Norris on 29 February 2016

Lucy Norris reports on the Marni A/W 16 womenswear collection.

Lucy Norris reports on the Marni A/W 16 womenswear collection.

Round and round we go! Another show, another Italian label, defining the new modern opulence. Marni has always had a stake in circles - via its dotty prints and architectural jewellery - but this season Conseuelo Castigilioni said 'roundness was pervasive,' extending the signature to silhouettes, embellishments and hemlines. Shona Heath's set design was also in on the visual memo, as models exited via a circular hole in the wall. However, this collection was far from one-dimensional as ‘roundness’ meant 3D. A voluminous upper body volume tapped into timely eighties inflected Renaissance silhouettes, expressive prints and a playful decadence. Similarly to Gucci, this collection intended to explore a 'gentle distortion of familiar elements.' It also used history to evoke this season's 'romanticism,' looking to 'slice, tweak and configure it in new ways.'

Spherical pearls - an Elizabeth I must have - were worn here with detachable leg of mutton sleeves, a Flemish style that was bought into Renaissance fashion by (one of) Henry VIII's wives, Anne of Cleves. Another Renaissance shape here was the funnel sleeve, which was fitted on the upper arm, ballooning out to wondrous proportions, and then fitting again snugly around wrists. Then there were the capes! The opening looks presented them first as long line linear, after which they shortened into neat crescent hem sweaters. Marni is a house that has such a graphic handle on expressionist modernity that one was thrilled to see it take on historical detailing - and with such a clean and rigorous line. It didn't feel fussy but in less capable hands it would have done. The silhouette was repeatedly cut up in new and interesting ways - show notes referred to things being 'out of scale' - but the waistline remained always high. The colours red and blue held it steady, until wonderful art nouveau prints and painted squiggles arrived - but no fear, we were still far from a wobble.

Harlequin checked bishop sleeves, blouson bubble banks, and fur wraps were layered in a luxurious take on medieval Pinocchio dressing. These girls looked like toys, with the backs revealing all their ties, ribbons and detachable elements. J.W. Anderson's love for a similar Grimm fairy tale vibe was also present - as the Victorians’ equal love for a leg-of-mutton sleeve inspired an exploration of the gothic, via black floral prints, which crawled across white smocks. Trousers were deep from front to back, with peg leg creases on formal tweed shapes, whilst stirrup leggings (a trend? They were at Versace too on Friday night) saw the eighties fashion link with the baroque sealed in a royal warrant. Prada may have used history to put fashion on trial, but Marni was using it to express its own artisan personality. The most incredible ultramarine blue devoré - splashed across full-sleeved dresses - was almost like an oversized leopard print - but more like the brushstrokes of an Italian master, at work in his studio.



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