This season marks 20 years of Marni, the label Consuelo Castiglioni launched as an offshoot of her husband’s family fur business and built to rank in the Milan design establishment. All around town, Castiglioni’s peers have been looking backward, regardless of a milestone to celebrate, and, while she used her spring runway for a fantastic display of fashion acrobatics, she did so without reverting to retro shtick, not even fur.
Rather, Castiglioni began by stripping her aesthetic bare and building it back up, working in raw canvas and toile in plain colors that progressed to radiant color, decoration and craft. There was a Zen to the spare stuff, done in black, white and jute, the purity a deliberate contrast to exaggerated lines and proportions. Shirts had extra-long sleeves; big A-line skirts with sculpted folds and ruffles were tied with big judo belts and worn with flat monastic sandals. The models looked like they were on a pilgrimage to the cloister of chic.
And then the crescendo of vivid brights and florals: The same silhouettes animated and optimized with giant illustrated flower prints, petals rendered with bonded leather appliqués and dense chiffon embroideries. It was a dazzling display of Castiglioni’s world of colorful craft. After 20 years, she’s entitled to a moment to show off.