A plunge into magical thinking
This year’s New York Fashion Week, back in full force for Spring 2023, offered a somewhat traditional lineup. But Marni, who usually performs in Milan, decided to change all that with his New York debut, in an atmospheric tunnel under the Manhattan Bridge, with the roar of the subway above his head and a tight front row that included Madonna, Kendall Jenner and Doja Cat. Then there was the Brooklyn String Orchestra, flanking both sides of the floor, dressed all in red, performing a dramatic musical piece by Dev Hynes.
As the lights dimmed and a beam shone through the tunnel, the show opened with a barrage of sunset-colored jersey dresses, skirts, jackets and crop tops, bursting rays of tropical sunshine in the gritty, cobblestone-paved location. Next came larger-than-life pastel pants, shrunken knit tops and, true to Marni’s slightly off-kilter shape, chunky crossbody bags in plush, plush textures.
Compared to last season’s show, in which creative director Francesco Risso created a forest-like rave in a Milan warehouse, the spring 2023 collection was full of pieces that seemed suited to the type of character study that is the specialty of Risso. The oversized fur and multicolored leather patchwork coats, along with the ombre polka dot pants and matching long jacket, looked like they were plucked from a modern folk fantasy. Reflective mirror tiles on sarongs and bra tops were reminiscent of 90s Mosaic street art. silver dangling from the raw edges – the kind of thing a grunge fairy queen might wear.
Organic prints will forever be in Marni’s DNA, but lately Risso seems to be taking things in a slightly different direction, focusing on softer, simpler graphics and colors. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a more minimalist take on a brand that was once so known for its jaw-dropping prints and chunky arty jewelry. There were also plenty of references and shapes inspired by the 60s and 70s.
Many of the looks in the collection, worn by the likes of Paloma Elsesser and Lara Stone, carried an inherently uneven artistic aesthetic – a collage of bright, upbeat messages. The part-knit, part-crocheted tops had the unique DIY aesthetic that’s so particular to Marni right now.
Overall, the show hinted at the positivity that color and soft graphic prints can bring, even more so when mixed, matched and shaken with various textiles and finishes. “Every sunset is also a sunrise, someone else,” the show’s notes read. “If you are in the right place at the right time, you too can make a sunset. But like a sunset, like a rainbow, like the future, it won’t happen without you. Imagine how much happier people’s outlook on life could be if everyone wore the sunset.