MILAN, Italy — There's never been any doubt about Marni's originality, but that asset hasn't always translated into accessibility. Hence the label's enduring reputation for eccentricity. There was a resounding echo of it in the last outfit out today. An otherwise elegant white jacket, jacquarded in Art Nouveau swirls, was covered with giant paillettes that looked like blue jellyfish. It was a snag waiting to happen. But this was as far out as the new collection ventured.
Otherwise, the eccentricity was beautifully tempered. From the moment fresh new face Charlee stepped on to the catwalk, the show hit a winning streak. And it stayed there, through a procession of looks that Consuelo Castiglioni called "new romantic."
It was proper romance too. Charlee wore high-waisted, wide-belted stirrup pants, billowing sleeves and a sculpted cape-like thing buttoned down the shoulder and tied in the back with a ribbon, all of which, coupled with her exquisite makeup and hair, made her look like a Daphne du Maurier heroine (Rebecca was, in fact, a reference for hair stylist Paul Hanlon).
Or maybe a highwaywoman in love. The buttoned-on, billowing sleeves were a feature of the collection. “Out of scale,” was Castiglioni’s description. Rounder and bigger were better. A sculpted silhouette is something of a Marni signature. Here, the sleeves had an olde worlde aspect, but they were paired with svelte skirts, trousers and some of those capes cut in futuristic curves.
Castiglioni struck a convincing balance between the familiar (the historical, even) and the not so, like the jacket and coat in a classic Prince of Wales check, bugle-beaded in an Ikat pattern (the same pattern appeared a few outfits later in fabric form).
The hybrid result was quintessential Marni: m-odd-ern.