On Sunday, right after showing its spring collection, Marni opened a temporary flower market at Milan’s historic Rotonda della Besana.
The Milanese company, which in December 2012 sold a majority stake to Renzo Rosso’s OTB, set up counters selling fresh flowers and plants. In addition, Marni was selling a range of customized products, including soft plastic vase holders available in seven sizes and 11 archival patterns.
Other items included shopping bags, Japanese porcelain vases, a gardening apron and chairs and animal sculptures made by a group of Colombian women using metal frames and colored PVC.
There were also pieces for children, including aprons hand-painted in Zambia and small bags of gardening tools.
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The event kicked off celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the label, founded by Consuelo and Gianni Castiglioni, creative director and chief executive officer, respectively.
Here, Consuelo Castiglioni and her daughter Carolina, director of special projects, discuss the market and other so-called “Marni Prisma” projects, as well as the past and future of the company.
WWD: What’s the idea behind the project, which seems quite unusual to celebrate such a milestone?
Consuelo Castiglioni: “We didn’t want to do a traditional celebration but something different. Traditional things don’t fit our mentality, since we like the unusual.
“The idea behind the project started from my personal passion for flower markets and we also wanted to do something open to the public.”
Carolina Castiglioni: “Flowers have always been part of our collections and flowers are strictly linked with the idea of something natural, spontaneous, unique — all elements of our brand identity.”
WWD: Why did you call the project “Marni Prisma”?
Carolina: “The Prisma is at the base of the project — the idea is to show Marni’s multifaceted identity from different angles through different events.
“In Hong Kong during Art Basel, we will create another flower market that will be different from the Milanese one, while in Tokyo we will re-create a bazaar where we will sell a range of [reissues] of the brand’s most iconic pieces. Then, in May in Venice, during the Art Biennale, we will present a project in collaboration with two Belgian artists.
“Marni Prisma is also a charity project we developed for The Vimala Association, the company with which we have been collaborating for many years on our charity Christmas projects. With the proceeds from the events in Milan, Hong Kong and Tokyo, we will finance work for the restoration of an orphanage with a school hosting 50 disabled Tibetan children in India.”
WWD: Talking about the anniversary, what has changed over these 20 years?
Consuelo: “Marni has always continued to explore new things but at the same time, we have been sticking to our DNA, which is strongly based on an experimental approach.”
Carolina: “We always do things we like, so our loyalty to a certain vision and our coherence come so naturally.”
Consuelo: “You have to consider that our collections are not the fruit of calculated decisions. We have a more instinctive approach. Twenty years ago, I would have never imagined we’d arrive at this point.”
WWD: Have things changed since Renzo Rosso acquired a stake in your company?
Consuelo: “Nothing at all. Renzo understood where our story is rooted. Even if our approach is completely different from his group’s, he truly understands our working method.”
WWD: What are the goals for the future?
Consuelo: “The goal for the future is to continue in this direction with this freedom to keep creating things following my instinct. Next year, we will move our Milan flagship from Via della Spiga to a new location in a courtyard on Via Montenapoleone, and we will also open stores in other cities, including San Francisco.”