FW14: Marni’s Twisted Birds

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Marni is one Milan show we always await with bated breath. Not always accessible and certainly not always pretty, Consuelo Castiglioni’s collections are nevertheless consistently packed with power, intellectual interest, and a different perspective on femininity. Like Prada, Marni often eschews sex appeal in favor of something more articulate, more thoughtful, more experimental – all of which is a welcome respite from the overt sexiness of Dolce & Gabbana, DSquared2, Versace, etc. Castiglioni’s color choices pique and perplex, and her fabrics rarely drape just so – instead, they shape the silhouette into new and intriguing forms.

Marni FW14 offered a whole slew of virtues, and is truly a standout collection – for the season as a whole as well as for the label. The show began with heavy ruffled neoprene dresses and coats with interesting contrasting panels (a standout of which was a heather grey and forest green long ruffled dress worn by the angelic Julia Nobis). Fuschia and emerald green played an on-trend role here, as they did on other runways this season, and a delectable felted wool coat in amazing shades of teal, grey, oxblood, and black told another fascinating color story. A tan leather jacket topped with a muppet’s burst of emerald shag fur, matched with emerald neoprene pants, shocked the system in a good way and led us into full-on muppet territory. Marni certainly wasn’t the only one to bring us giant plush teddy bear wear this season, but she is a contender for the best. Her plush furry pieces came in an array of eye-popping colors and patterns, such as that pictured above, and the final ten or so looks were defined by a gorgeous combination of these bursts of furriness contrasted with intricate feathered skirt panels, transforming the models into rare and exotic birds.

Hair and makeup were handled deftly by Paul Hanlon and Tom Pecheux, respectively. Hanlon’s messy, nest-like comb-overs somehow perfectly complemented the expertly tailored wild child collection. In all, an expectation-surpassing outing from the marvelous Castiglioni.

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