Bare trees can be as beautiful as leafy ones, and the same goes for a Marni collection. Even with very few of her demonstrative, retro-tinged patterns, Consuelo Castiglioni’s latest effort was captivating.
The sepia-toned forest mural that wrapped the show space — and the models’ smudged lipstick and she’s-come-undone hair — heightened the melancholia that Castiglioni wished to convey, and reinforced what has become a prevailing mood across the international collections.
Using sturdy wools and tweeds, the designer coaxed feminine grace from roomy aviator blousons and oversize coats fastened with biker-jacket zippers and cinched with heavy military belts. In what has become a superb outerwear season in Milan, there were also voluminous cabans in glossy calfskin the color of cement and a long, sleeveless style in rubbery leather with embedded lapels and patch pockets.
Long fur stoles, wound around the neck like boas, and snug fur capes added drama to austere daywear: strapless tops ending in peplums and A-line tunics fronted with a corset traced out in felt. Skirts flared gently and fell about the knee, with flat riding boots finishing off the look.
Prints made a brief appearance toward the end of the show; wintry paint-by-number landscapes and black-and-white scribbles adorned skirts and tops outlined with leather taping.
The motifs, as always, had an eccentric charm. Yet with this toned-down, reality-based collection, Castiglioni proved she can deliver a gust of fashion — along with that inimitable Marni quirk — without relying on them.