Francesco Risso is seeking clarity and concision, “both privately and professionally,” as he said at a studio appointment. “Absorbing the beauty of chaos” while distilling it into purified Marni archetypes (he calls them “heroes”) is part of the creative quest he’s been on for quite some time. It’s a journey that peaked at the fall show held in Tokyo in February; this prefall collection was a precursor, laying the groundwork for the maximalist minimalism that seems to be Risso’s blueprint at Marni.
The core of the lineup consists of simple wardrobe staples often rendered in black, “which is a sort of oxymoron for Marni.” No-nonsense, no-gender knits—including long fluffy turtlenecks worn as minidresses, tube tops, miniskirts, fuzzy mohair jumpers, and leggings—were offered in an energized palette of solid bright colors or multicolored stripes. Silhouettes ranged from the slender and graphic (’50s modernist slim tailoring in deconstructed jacquard-knit jersey, grungy fluid-silk pajamas) to inflated and ballooning (poufy taffeta skirts, abstract floral-print dresses with ample ankle-grazing gathered skirts, cocoon parkas, and shearling coats). The look was artsy in an intriguing, playful Marni way, while the optics were smoothed away from an overpowering impact.
Risso is rather adamant about his idea of luxury. For him, the concept is linked to the intrinsic value of each Marni object, to the know-how embedded in the way they’re made, to the humanity infused in each creation. In the Tokyo collection, the polka dots and stripes that at first glance looked printed were actually made entirely by hand with a marker. “They’re not objects that scream, ‘Hello! I’m here! I’m super expensive, and you want me!’ Quite the opposite”, he said. “We don’t like the banal or the ostentatious. What we’re pursuing is the elevated feel of the hand. I’d like our objects to be appreciated as containers of experience and knowledge, soaked in creativity and passion.” There’s obviously nothing quiet or anonymously luxurious about Marni’s ethos. “What we’re after,” Risso summarized, “is rather a sort of quiet screaming.”