It might feel like Marni has been around forever, but the much loved brand was actually only launched in 1994 by Italian designer Consuelo Castiglioni. Kooky and colourful, its designs immediately appealed to a new generation of women who were becoming bolder in their dress sense and more inclined to mix textures and prints in a modern, playful way. Even more impressive, the brand achieved its success without any advertising before 2015 – a serious testament to the beauty of the clothes.
Married to a furrier, it was obvious that Castiglioni would be fur-centric, but her brand arrived on the scene when mink and chinchilla were both out of fashion and politically incorrect – a devastating combination. But Castiglioni’s genius in her AW97 collection was to treat fur like any other fabric, dyeing it and using it as a lining or a detail on the collar to make pieces look modern and wearable – two words not often associated with fur at the time. Our favourite: the moss green fur jacket. Find out more about the furry vagabond trend for AW16/17 here.
Marni had always been known as one of the more feminine and pretty brands, but in AW02 Castiglioni embraced a stronger, tougher attitude with her softened down version of grunge. Featuring all enveloping black coats and oversized tunics, it was a huge hit with the fashion set in London, New York and Milan.
Despite dabbling with grunge and sportswear over the years, the Marni woman was still gloriously feminine, fitted with glittering sequins and rainbow hued skirts. So where did that leave Marni menswear? Castiglioni launched her first men’s collection in 2007 to huge critical acclaim thanks to her take on colourful dressing for the boys. And while they did get a hip-length scarlet jacket to call their own, there was not a sequin in sight.
‘Our world, but more than usual,’ said Castiglioni after her AW14 show. With a focus on outrageous cuts and feathery, glittery embellishments, this feminine collection was an ode to Castiglioni’s riotous imagination. Yes, we agree, it sounds slightly mad, but it looks sublime. And nothing could be more divine than the full length ruffled black skirt with hints of hot pink.
Courtney Love once called Marni sexless, but to berate the brand for failing to produce bodycon dresses and miniskirts is to misunderstand it entirely. And nowhere is that clearer than in its AW16 collection, which took a decidedly glamorous approach to covered up fashion with balloon sleeved blouses, stretchy cigarette trousers and cutaway capes that every fashion editor lusted over for months.