A perpetual childlike condition is always part of the subtext at Marni, where Consuelo Castiglioni’s jumble of patterns, texture and heavily orchestrated whimsy simply refuses to conform to the serious, humdrum adult world. That conflict became the focal point of her spring collection, a “mix between childhood tenderness and the tension of a grown up woman,” the designer said during a preview. It was not subtle point-counterpoint but it was high on Marni-specific charm.


Castiglioni opened with relatively simple silhouettes in Easter egg brights, then built them into increasingly loud graphic patterns on hefty fabrications before the show crescendoed with some serious embellishment. The nursery room colors and sweet daisy prints, some done in fuzzy tinsel, were standouts at the beginning, while the finale of graphic Ts and exaggerated embroideries — we’re talking fist-size plastic daisies applied in triplicate to a raffia-like beaded skirt — ended the show on an exuberant, if not easy-to-wear, note.


Examined side by side, the first few looks and the last were positively schizophrenic. Yet there was a coherence in the Sixties color ways, boxy-but-precise shapes and quirky-cool accessories, such as stacked spectators and matching frame bags. Castiglioni also let sheer nude slips peek out under the skirts and tunics, which unified the collection while grounding volume and lightening up the heaviest looks. And somewhere in the middle of all the noise came something new: a series of sleeveless dresses, slim with sharp collars and alluring cut out backs that offered a rare glimpse of the female form in a Marni collection.


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