Call it a honeymoon phase, but the marriage between Antonio Marras and new business partner Gruppo Calzedonia is going strong and giving the Sardinian designer a new glow, judging by the beautiful collection he conjured for pre-fall.
The lineup struck a balance between Marras’ poetic aesthetic and more accessible options. Even while maintaining the creative outbursts and artisanal touches that make the designer’s work unique, the lineup seemed to be a more edited effort, which actually made the different elements of his fashion more visible.
Storytelling remains at the epicenter of the Marras universe. The real story of civil engineer Benjamin Piercy, who in the 19th century was called to build a railway at the center of at-that-time inhospitable and unknown Sardinia, offered this season’s narrative framework for the designer’s signature blend of masculine and feminine tropes, military and bucolic inspirations, tailoring and couture accents.
As Marras imagined the new life of the Piercy family in the lush natural landscape of his own homeland, he envisioned a clash between the style codes they were importing from the U.K. and the local fashions. Think Prince of Wales, tartan, houndstooth and chevron patterns mingling with opulent floral motifs as well as damask, silk, tulle and taffeta fabrics.
Tailoring was introduced via fitted blazer jackets with corsetry details and paired with pleated or pencil skirts for a retro flavor as well as via oversized suits cut in more relaxed silhouettes.
Renditions of botanic motifs sprouted on coats, mannish white shirts, silk pajama sets and brocade dresses, while in knitwear different patchworks were further adorned with shimmering fringes to enhance movement. Technical fabrications were also elevated in pleated skirts and quilted jackets with rich embroideries, which additionally appeared on military parkas revisited with lavish patches, jewels and fake fox fur inserts.
Separates in solid colors smartly interrupted the crafty exuberance that found its best expression in exquisite one-off pieces with a couture vocation. Cue a series of blazer jackets that were reversed, deconstructed, reworked with floral inserts and layered with tulle: these alone would be well worth a trip to Sardinia.