Marni Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection

by Alexander Patino

The great thing about Marni is that its one of the few great houses that refuses to rest on its laurels. Each season Consuelo Castiglioni takes a dramatic chance and comes up the winner every time. Marni is consistently good.

The season’s already been banged over the head with prints, especially floral prints, but no one’s explored those themes quite like this, except for maybe Proenza Schouler on the crafty front and Mary Katrantzou on the graphic. The crafty pyrotechnics were particularly striking in a yellow, brown and black group of resin flower appliqued looks that seemed almost rubber stamped, like the imprints on the soles of brand new tennis shoes. Trust Castiglioni to take something that sounds like that and make it look so pretty.

She also touched upon Balenciaga’s famed neoprene floral get-ups with her cotton jacket and matching shorts printed with a stunning impressionist garden that looked hazy and plucked like a hand-painted tweed. And even though that Watteau/conical cut on a sleeveless coat recalled the modernist-couture shapes of Cristobal, that circular Bauhaus print on that sculptural leather was all Marni.

The textural richness wrapped into the visual pomp of the collection best of all in the final looks, whose prints implied a false textural dimension and woven raffia skirts created a sublime trompe l’oeil when finished off with beaded fringe hems. The only weak note in the otherwise exceptional lineup were those organza underlays that were meant to extend the silhouette. A false note that read as contrivance.

One thing Marni could consider is not playing it so nice. It would be something to see Marni get a little rough around the edges. Even Chanel, the very definition of class, gets to explore the darkness.