Marni Fall 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Risso is a musician, and learning how to play the cello over the pandemic taught him that hard-won discipline is creatively rewarding. It’s about achieving a composition that balances rhythm and rigor, “the pause and the note.” Making clothes is about giving life to objects “that have a harmonious, pleasant sound.” He knows the power of music as a great equalizer, and his consummate showmanship came once again to the fore tonight. Musical director Dev Hynes envisioned a soundtrack performed by the Tokyo Chamber Orchestra, whose musicians were all dressed in the same paper that covered the arena’s floor and podium.

White, of course, is a non-color that speaks of absence, but also of clarity. It is a carte blanche on which new words are ready to be written. Wrapping the arena in white paper spoke of a desire for simplicity, for reducing noise and distractions. But Risso is no minimalist, and even if he preached rigor and linearity, the collection had presence, density, and punch.

He traded his usual slightly bonkers decorations for starker, elemental graphics, and reduced the palette to a few saturated primary colors: yellow and red playing against white and black. Every look was an all-over proposition, and for both men and women in the mostly local cast (plus Marni favorites like Paloma Elsesser and Angel Prost), silhouettes alternated between slender and form-fitting and bulky and bulbous.

Tailoring was offered in oversized versions, and knitwear, a Marni forte, had fuzzy mohair surfaces, as in the jumbo round-cut piuminos that were among the collection’s standouts. The swirling, magical motifs of sirens and unicorns of previous outings were nowhere to be seen, replaced instead by kinetic grids and optical checks, and by slightly Kusama-esque bouncing dots of various sizes. Rectangular tunics and angular apron dresses contrasted with form-fitting, heart-shaped bustier dresses that were kept neat rather than sensual. Cocoons in padded leather or wool conveyed enveloping, comforting warmth.

The 1,800 guests included the K-pop superstars Mingyu and Joshua of Seventeen, the actress Tessa Thompson, and the musicians Ghali, Skepta, Iann Dior, King Princess and 24kGoldn, who cheered Risso from the front row. “It’s a collection with one foot in tradition and the other in a not-impossible future,” he said backstage. “It’s a sort of rhythmic alternation of proud normality and proud creativity.” If only normality was as Risso dreams it up.

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