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Marni – Posh Abstraction

Godfrey Deeny
March 02nd, 2009 @ 00:26 AM - Milan

Part homage to one’s grandmother’s jewelry, part laboratory experiment in Asian fabrics, part illumination of contemporary cool, the Marni fall 2009 collection staged Sunday, March 1, in Milan was easily the most important statement of contemporary fashion seen so far in the current season, on either side of the Atlantic.

There was not one weak look in this collection, which combined active sports ideas from skiing with haute gamme ornamentation. And another mark of its exceptional quality was the way Marni’s creative director Consuelo Castiglioni had the right look, and garment, for every occasion. Whether loose at the hip, tight at the ankle faux jodhpurs, truncated swing Spencer jackets or forgiving day dresses, that gave professional poise and arty élan, the cut and silhouette was just right.

And the collection was on trend, Castiglioni showed knee socks – like Giorgio Armani two days before – underlining a big style for fall.

But above all it was the unique fabric prints and mixes that kept the audience under a spell. Like gold edged plaids, or jagged stain glass graphics or, most importantly, a finale featuring antique Chinese fabric wallpaper designs. Rarely have such inventive materials been seen on any runway, anywhere.

The accessories were also brilliant, from the cockles and mussels encrusted bracelets to a series of fantasy bibs, necklaces and metallic scarves, all brilliantly lit in austere white beams by lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus.

“My opening idea was antique jewelry. Then I got obsessed with Chinese interiors, as you can see,” smiled Castiglioni backstage.

Yet, though the collection was flawless, the staging was not. The soundtrack, a clever mix of Electronicat, was perfectly judged and paced, but far too loud. At least three front row editors had their fingers stuck in their ears throughout the show.

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