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In retrospect, Francesco Risso’s January 2020 menswear show for Marni seems prophetic. The collection took inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” which tells a story of plague and societal excess. These themes continue to resonate with the designer after 16 months living with the pandemic.
On this week’s episode of the BoF Podcast, Risso tells BoF’s editor-at-large Tim Blanks why fashion’s habits of over-production and lavish runways are now “redundant” and where he believes the industry should go from here.
Risso has always looked back at brand archives for inspiration, but now he sees an opportunity to extend that habit to create more timeless designs. “Every season we take stuff from the old archives… and it’s become Marni’s prerogative, so every collection we have those heirlooms,” says Risso. “I’m very a big fan of trying to be responsible with design in that sense.”
Risso reflects on the importance of simplicity. Refocusing on creating connections and celebrating the small things over the past year has been a key focus at Marni. “I think it really forced us to focus on the authenticity of our ideas and also to celebrate them at a certain point… we [celebrated] in a very light and primitive kind of way,” he says.
Changes to runway shows during the pandemic must not be overturned, according to Risso, who calls for more permanent change to the industry’s schedule by reducing the number of collections in a year. “I would love that whatever we have learnt right now is not just thrown off,” says Risso.