This necklace from Marni's Spring/Summer 2004 collection is no mere 'pendant on a chain' affair. It is a statement, as they say, of two halves, in which Consuleo Castiglioni's trademark vintage printed fabrics and home-crafted techniques are deftly refined in the construction of a deluxe fashion accessory.
Falling from a simple leather cord, a series of kitsch, quilted flowers start the piece, upholstered in the mis-matched fabrics that characterised the Marni designer's loving interpretation of the 1950s this season. Their geeky brown checks and patchwork construction–reminiscent of cheap Chinese pincushions–give way to a more graphic statement below, with a sequence of appliquéd characters fashioned in leather. The flat colour of the turquoise squirrel, salmon bird and mustard, leaf-patterned tree provides a clean contrast to the muddy hues and lumpy forms of the flowers. Though with visible stitching and hand-knotted cords stringing it together, evidence of the leatherwork's crafty assemblage asserts its redoubtable Marni heritage. Similarly, the lovely brown leather strap that curves up to meet the silver clasp is a nod to Italy's tradition of luxury leather-craft. Crucially, after the naivety of the Haight-Ashburyesque flowers and cartoon characters, the strap also contributes a balancing, adult note: referencing dog collar or leash?
Worn high to one side at the catwalk show, the necklace draped down the edge of necklines almost like a sash, creating a diagonal gesture that added (literal) weight to the brand's fluid tailoring and use of layering. A pretty focus for an eclectic look, the piece demonstrates how with judicious balance of materials, the most whimsical of forms can provide an invigorating counterpoint to luxury womenswear.
Fabric and leather necklace by Marni at Marni +4420 7245 9520