It’s not an easy challenge to set a new path for a cult fashion brand after the departure of its founder and creative director. With his debut collection for Marni, Francesco Risso was wise enough to not completely shock the label’s followers — there were references to the Consuelo Castiglioni era in the color palette, the graphic patterns and the use of fabrics — while attempting to tap into a younger generation of customers. So instead of continuing Castiglioni’s strive for quirkiness, Risso embraced a more approachable, cool street approach.
During a pre-show interview backstage, the designer said “what really interests me is the diversity of the people in the street.” (It’s curious that Salvatore Ferragamo’s new men’s wear design director Guillaume Meilland said almost the same thing during a preview of his debut collection. Is this perhaps the obsession of a new generation raised in an age where the “now” is king?)
While Castiglioni with her discreet approach to fashion drew fans of the avant garde, Risso with his first collection seemed interested in developing a more playful, youthful image for the brand — one that is definitely less edgy.
Backstage, he also pointed out how the collection wanted to create “a bridge between childhood and adulthood.” This came through via leisure suits that recalled children’s pajamas. Yeti-like fur coats, jackets with maxi fur pockets paired with wide-leg corduroy pants and colorful fur hats had a frisky appeal, reminding one of Jamiroquai’s “The Return of the Space Cowboy” period — but also too much of Fendi.
Still, there was something optimistic and spirited about the lineup, reinforced by the models literally walking through a projected film that reminded one of a “Looney Tunes” cartoon.