milan fashion week: marni

(images via style)

i’ve probably said it in the past–i’m not really sure–but i was somewhat late out of the gate in my appreciation for the italian label marni, which as (and this i am sure) we’ve discussed in the past (see a/w 2010, s/s 2011, a/w 2011, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013, pre-fall 2013) inspires the kind of hardcore fan-dom usually reserved for low-budget films centered around some lead character spending most of his time absorbed in kooky hijinks that are at least partially the result of being perpetually stoned. but! i’m a convert–of less passionate sorts, at least–and i really was looking forward to the a/w 2013 presentation at milan fashion week.

and if that’s the case, then surely you can imagine just where the hardcore kids rang in. and so, without further ado, we’ll let them take it away, yes? so. “Silhouettes were masculine (oversize coats with rounded shoulders, wide-legged trousers, and unfussy A-line skirts) and fabrics similarly rigid and mannish (wool, tweed, and leather in charcoal, black, and cement),” panted fashionologie, “but the romanticism and femininity Castiglioni mentioned was also plenty present. It came in the form of gorgeous woodland prints, pleats with sheer insets, and piles of lush furs.”

and according to us vogue, “‘(s)everity with an air of romance,’ is how Castiglioni framed the proposal for fall. The opening look—a minimalist black strapless top with matching knee-length skirt, accessorized with a sturdy riding boot and sweeping fur scarf—set the agenda. The Italian designer had been looking at menswear tropes for pre-fall, and this season peplum tunics and zippered aviator jackets were cut from suiting fabrics more commonly found in a gentleman’s closet. Models carried mannish backpacks that were devoid of hardware—a super sleek and compelling pick-me-up—and there was none of the signature kooky bijoux of seasons past.”

meanwhile, we heard style note that “(t)he austerity already insinuated itself with last season’s monochrome, but here it was even more stripped to the bone. Masculine flannels and tweeds were cut into strict, angular silhouettes, diagonally zipped, and paired with riding boots. But Castiglioni softened the hard edge with feminizing details—bustiers, corseting, pleating slashed to reveal organza inserts. And the clothes caught fur like a contagion. It spread from lavish stoles to gloves, bags, and boots, from a glossy band of beaver on a skirt hem to a capelet of the same on a maîtresse-stern coat-dress of charcoal flannel.”

“The tension between the precise cut of the cloth and the tactile depth of the fur was clearly the crux of that ‘new atmosphere’ Castiglioni referenced. If it was severe to the eye, it was soft to the touch. Maybe that was where the romance came in, as an almost surprising vulnerability,” they prattled on. “Even without the fur, the hard lines were softened. A boxy jacket and skirt, as plain as anything Castiglioni has ever designed, were shown in brushed mohair. And a stark black leather jacket was bonded to lush velvet. If that doesn’t define the designer’s hybrid of the romantic and the austere, it’s hard to imagine what else could.”

“There was something almost funereal about those heavy coats and that excessive use of fur (even if it is Marni’s heritage),” declared showstudio. “Usually the Marni shopper uses her wardrobe to express her quirks and show off her personality, but this season she was retreating behind her clothing and cladding herself in armour. As a complex, smart woman, she always has an air of aloofness and distance, but those heavy zips, weighty volumes and dense masculine fabrics like brushed mohair, tweed and men’s suiting wool, made her feel even more distant and lofty. She was buckling up and preparing herself for a fight.”

and elsewhere, the washington post reported that “(t)hough the collection had a firmly cold-weather feel — particularly expressed in the stiff materials like tweets and velvets that characterized the line — Marni challenged the season in many ways: Sleeveless coats. Shorts. Mini miniskirts. And flat, trekking sandals, worn with bare legs. The silhouette was mostly modest, with skirts falling to the knee and below, but Castiglioni also teased at what she called ‘puritanical rigor,’ tucking transparent panels inside her pleated skirts. Colors were, in keeping with Milan trends, on the urban harsh side, with blacks, grays and deep blue, offset by golden yellows and deep red.”

“The sepia-toned forest mural that wrapped the show space — and the models’ smudged lipstick and she’s-come-undone hair — heightened the melancholia that Castiglioni wished to convey, and reinforced what has become a prevailing mood across the international collections,” reflected wwd. “Using sturdy wools and tweeds, the designer coaxed feminine grace from roomy aviator blousons and oversize coats fastened with biker-jacket zippers and cinched with heavy military belts. In what has become a superb outerwear season in Milan, there were also voluminous cabans in glossy calfskin the color of cement and a long, sleeveless style in rubbery leather with embedded lapels and patch pockets.”

and uk vogue offered that “there were furry boots too and peplums and stoles, the latter to accent almost every look and add a feminine touch to stark shapes of sleeveless blazer coats. There were pleats too – one of the season’s biggest trends no doubt – on substantial skirts and on one coat-dress hybrid they rolled on down the body. For those more romantic moments dresses came strapless and cinched, prom style, and that forest moved off from the wall and onto skirts for branch prints in black and white. Elsewhere and shoulders were restrained by fur stoles, to keep body and lines in check. ‘Using the fur in graphic ways,’ said Castiglioni. Moody but not too dark, Marni next season does indeed appear to be where the wild things are.”

then, the telegraph described how “(t)extures, fabrics and charm are this label’s speciality: for winter think felted wools and fur slung all over the place, including those you don’t really need it: hems and scarves that were worn with strapless dresses or silk shorts (what is this, displacement heat theory?). Colours were very muted for Marni: charcoals, lovely bottle greens and lots of black. Contour-concealing tweeds, thigh length, collarless leather jackets and raglan sleeved, wide-lapelled coats all kept Marni on trend yet true to itself. This normally exuberant print house confined itself mainly to the silhouettes of bare trees that would have reminded Jane of Rochester Towers.” ha.

finally, though, we heard from suzy menkes of the iht, relaying that “onsuelo Castiglioni did not send out a light-hearted collection with the usual quirky character. Instead, from the backdrop of skeletal winter trees and with the same pattern inked onto fabrics, the mood was, as the designer put it, ‘a sparse sense of melancholia.’ Even fur stoles thrown over one shoulder, and referring to the DNA of Marni as a fur brand, could not lift a show that was liberal in its use of black. Tweed jackets with A-line skirts and a pony skin tunic were plain and simple — but made their mark by using texture as color. This is a strong trend of the Milan season and Ms. Castiglioni took the gray/white shades of a brushed wool coat and a more evidently contrasting black and white fur to emphasize that touch often takes over from sight. Considered as individual pieces, there was a lot to like — and wear.”

(watch the full fashion show video here)

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