For his second “touring show” for Marni, the brand’s creative director Francesco Risso descended on Tokyo, staging a presentation in a Kenzo Tange-designed gymnasium originally constructed for the 1964 Olympics. The show’s location was significant for not only the brand — Japan represents 23 percent of Marni’s total sales — but also for the designer himself.
“After New York, I thought, Tokyo for sure, and so I came here right after the New York show,” Risso said. “And I had such a sense of refreshment, in the way in which you feel like there’s still a sense of patience here, a sense of calmness. Whereas Europe and the States feel like after the pandemic it’s like rushing to the opposite — you know we’ve been talking so much about making things better, but actually the sense that we have is actually that it’s speeding up to the opposite. And I must say that flying and being here, you still grasp a sense of nurtured normality, nurtured beauty, nurtured discipline.”
For his fall offering, Risso emphasized the quirkiness that has come to be symbolic of Marni, combining bright colors, bold graphics and playful silhouettes. The gender-fluid collection featured slinky, body-con knits contrasted with loose pleated trousers and outsized blazers with exaggerated shoulders. The entire collection was turned out in a striking palette of black, white and primary colors, emphasized by geometric prints, including windowpane checks and polka dots.
“I do not want to have anything boring that feels futile or just for the sake of appearance or algorithm,” Risso said. “The mirror of who we are is going to be in what we make, and actually our practice is about longtime experience, it’s about learning the work, it’s about loving it. And I love my job, desperately. And so in a way I’m kind of rewiring.”
Much of the patterning was simple, with sheath dresses and smock-like tops being constructed with very few seams, resulting in large, open armholes. In other pieces, it was the volume that stood out, such as was the case with puffed-up sweaters, coats and even a checked scarf that appear to be inflated.
“In a way it’s been about rewiring our classics and relooking at them as if they’re living creatures, and giving them the most love that we could. To really focus on each object,” Risso said. “This contrast between rigor and creativity, it’s almost like a symphony where you have a pause and a note and they play together. But they play together in a way that you can hear it and you can feel the emotion.”
In this same way, Risso combined playfulness with an avant-garde wearability: bold hues and patterns with familiar shapes; unconventional proportions with pared-down construction.
“I wanted, in a way, to find some kind of reset in my own pathway. And it hasn’t been about changing actually, it has been about insisting into what we really do. And that’s the most important thing,” the designer said.