Who hasn’t ruminated on the essential, often testy relationship between tech and nature? While preparing his Marni collection, Francesco Risso did just that. Backstage before his show, Risso said he considered “the contrast between our irresistible love for innovation and technology and, on the other side, those movements of the soul” innate to the human condition. He sought to explore “the universal magnetism that attracts opposites” and wondered if, by fusing the two, he could define “a new primitivism — techno primitivism.”
Key to the concept: Using innovative fabrics in a raw way. To that end, while some hems were laser-finished, others were frayed as he played PVC against silk and polyester against leather, and let long, unraveling cords swing freely from the waists of otherwise precise silhouettes. Along the way, a giant cat-face print took on political resonance when rendered in pink for a voluminous A-line coat.
The show opened with an ultraslick, bright blue coat, cinched with a wide belt. While this worked only the tech side of Risso’s equation, it introduced a key silhouette and the palette’s hyper-bright side, which he would contrast against neutrals. This was followed in quick order by color-blocked looks with an artisanal feel and sporty pilings of layers that alternated between natural and not, as with a bright, multistriped blanket coat over bright pink slicker over track pants. Risso went lean as well, with alluring, intensely constructed ribbed knits that bunched and folded while remaining sensually bodycon. And he constructed numerous coats and dresses from two different fabrics, spliced together.
At times, Risso’s mixes felt forced, while some larger volumes and a few design indulgences (those mismatched sleeve treatments) looked awkward. Yet it all made for interesting viewing, while attempting to tackle a real-life conundrum. For that, Risso is to be commended, even if creating seamless synergy between tech and nature proved elusive on his runway, as in life.