Marni’s Francesco Risso assumed quite a mantle, succeeding Consuelo Castiglioni, the revered house founder who developed one of fashion’s most respected and genuinely idiosyncratic aesthetics. A smooth entrée was probably unlikely and Risso’s debut women’s collection last February garnered mixed reviews (at best).
Risso proved himself no shrinking violet this time out, refusing to temper one bit of his creative euphoria. It made for a collection with a lot happening, but in a season sometimes strange and mostly ho-hum, it was welcomed stuff — for its audacity, ideas and realization.
Risso called the collection “Treasure Hunt,” and wrote in his program notes of “a multitude of women, surfing through a multitude of worlds.” Yes and no. For all the goings on, every gal on this hunt lists as her primary residence The Land of Out There, where wacky reigns and minimalists are suspect. A key look: structured, peplumed slip bodice over full skirt, in a mash-up of flowery prints. It made for a bit of an unholy New Look, with a side of funhouse Marie Antoinette at Trianon when worked in Old World brocades. Similar curvature informed the tailoring — a coat in men’s wear bird’s-eye with light blue and acid green side panels; a similar jacket, paneled in primary red and blue over a red skirt. A flapper fancy came in delicate layered slipdresses with demonstrative embroidery and in extreme furs, belted low on the hips in a contrasting color, the extra-long tie trailing decadently on the floor. One coat, a diva-spotted affair, saluted Cruella de Vil; another, Risso’s former employer Miuccia Prada, this one a glorious white robe embroidered with tiny pink roses that recalled an exquisite long-ago Prada print.
While this was hardly a collection for the street-obsessed set, Risso gave a wink and nod and endless yardage to outsized polo shirts over gigantic pants.
The prevailing super-size-me scale engaged, and if the tailored looks swung a tad Demna, the rest of the show didn’t. Rather, it registered as billed in the program notes, “Beauty as a playful act.” And so it was — and a bold one. Good going.