It is lucky I am writing a Marni review rather than conducting one of SHOWstudio’s signature Live Panel Discussions around the show as the music at today’s event was so deafening that I am rendered temporarily unable to hear and thus would accidentally ignore my assembled panelists. Many guests put their fingers in their ears towards the end of the show, eyes wide in shock and concern that the booming would never stop. Was such a strange faux pas deliberate? Possibly - the new Marni deals in awkwardness and a kind of childish irrelevance. Screaming loud music is the stuff of teenage years, so in a way is suited to this youthful, playful, vaguely silly collection.
Since Francesco Risso arrived at Marni last year in 2016, the house has become a little weirder, a touch more frenzied and feral. When describing the new Marni women, the notes provided at today’s show contained the clanger of a line, 'Their idea of beauty is a bizarre cocktail: shaken, not stirred.' Who’d have thought you’d find a James Bond reference in association with the notoriously kooky Marni girl. Bizarre is indeed the operative word. It serves to sum up this collection, which was deliberately unhinged. The notes also talked on a woman on a 'treasure hunt'; 'scavenging into trunks full of objects, finding items that belong to different individuals and carry different stories.' Sounds nuts doesn’t she? Well that’s the point. The poise and refined neatness of Consuelo Castiglioni's Marni - the founder departed the house last year after 22 years - has been been replaced with a maximalist, magpie eye and a very affected eclecticism. The seams on many of the garments were fraying with cartoonish vigour, threads wafting as models walked. Prints were off-beat and retro - some like bad wallpaper, some like free-hand scribbles. Some bodices looked like swimming costumes that had been chopped at the gusset creating a strange warped shape which pointed towards the crotch.
The collection oscillated between the masculine and the feminine. Opening looks were about the bodice - all corsets and full New Look curves. Later we got baggy skate pants and oversized t-shirts. There were some trend driven pieces. The clashing florals nodded to the Vetements zeitgeist. Giant earrings, a Marni signature, were less sleek and graphic than usual and more whimsical and almost hand-made looking. They will be popular given the current vogue for humongous earrings. Indeed, one wonders when the fashion pack will all need to starting booking in for surgery to have their easy lobes sewn back up such is the popularity of the Pat Butcher look - peruse any Street Style website if you’re looking for evidence.
Last season, at his debut show for the house, Risso filled his show space with scaffolding. This season, he gave us all fabric and thread with our tickets. The message - this is, still, a work in progress.