The entrance to this season's Marni show was transformed by way of a long black tunnel. Lit up by a magenta orb-like installation, the decision to have us walk through a dark tent, rather than the Marni courtyard, signalled that his first season is now behind him, and Francesco Risso is now ready to take Marni forward.
As a slow and winding version of Nature Boy opened the show, models walked out wearing skew-whiff ties, blanket-stitched, square-toed, brown shoes and cropped pyjama style shirts. All these sons and daughters of Mrs Prada that sit within the family tree of fashion must no doubt overlap - and clash like brothers and sisters - at times. The shoes here were a touch J Dubs does Prada. The wonky, oversized and off-kilter, ditto.
However, there was a beautiful lightness here - and a charm that this designer could very much build for this house. And make his own. Some fluid wide legged trousers were panelled in variant tones of pinstripe brown. They were super desirable. As a saxophone arrived and oozed over the sound track, the show mysteriously swerved - and it all went a touch Lynchian. Scrap that - Viscontian. Sailing boats were squiggled onto the bottom of tees and printed on baseball sneakers. Sail boats - again, a part of the Prada canon - were greatly welcomed here. It was like we'd never seen one before. They were wonderful. Combined with maillot de bain style striped tees, and the memory of us all having received a little plastic toy with our invitations - and this 'coming of age' collection was starting to call to mind Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice. The paradox of childlike innocence and undercurrents of desire were further explored via the seating design, which saw us sitting on colourful blocks of squares on a chic grown up frame, over which transparent lilo-like inflatables rubbed against the back leg of skirt wearing guests. A rather more innocent take on things saw some rather poetic shownotes talk of 'a well to do boy' who is constantly on holiday, and whose 'encounters with strangers turn into garments'. There was also talk of dreams turning into clothes, an overall 'lost and found idea' – and the notion of seeing collecting and coincidence as a new kind of nobility.
Talking of collecting, one shirt appliquéd and panelled with shapes - like the borderlines of different countries on a map - would be something most people would be happy to find in their wardrobe. Some ribbon-stitched outerwear was also craftsy and kitsch, yet timeless and chic. To top it all off, the bibs with illustrations - by Magdalena Suarez, of tigers and moths - were joyous. Risso is doing an incredible job of breathing intelligent joie de vivre into a house that so desperately needed to be representing this now-not-so-new age in menswear.