Ophelia, stop pining and exit the stage. Make that the runway. Because in the masterful Marni collection she showed on Sunday morning, Consuelo Castiglioni transformed references that usually result in a wistful attitude and gentle flou into a new kind of power dressing, assertive minus aggression and au courant with a side of romance.

 

Castiglioni went both upper- and lowercase renaissance, the latter the far more significant. She dares, resolutely unafraid of the misstep. She took tropes of period drama and subverted them brilliantly, experimenting with proportion, cut any layering, yet with hypercontrol. She favored circular, saclike constructions; cut deep arcs into capes worn over ski pants; transformed the poet’s blouse in crisp cottons and pixellated harlequin diamonds with modernist aplomb.

 

As for those stirrup pants — color them smart, not scary (really), with wide waistbands fastened with big, high-contrast buttons that made for another of the collection’s ongoing motifs. Castiglioni set up the then-to-now dialogue, opening with a brown cape proportioned with monastic severity, long in back and cut away in front over the pants and a crisp, white big-sleeved shirt. She spun the basic idea various ways, long cape giving way to short cape giving way to tunic and cropped jacket. Yet Castiglioni was wise not to linger. She extended the shirts into short dresses in the harlequin and other prints and paired less risky pants with athletic sweaters with buttoned-on sleeves. And she went for sparkle of the most offbeat sort: gigantic paillettes in big, flashy color blocks across otherwise simple pieces — a white tunic over pants; a short blue dress. She showed it all with major earrings that dangled color and shine, and wavy, Forties-ish hair.

 

The results were bold and provocative yet ultimately, very real. Castiglioni’s is not a discreet aesthetic, but neither is it artsy-niche. Renaissance — fair, sophisticated and incredibly chic.

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