Where Do We Go? Marni AW22

Francesco Risso’s Marni show for his autumn-winter 2022 collection, an ode to the handmade, the mended, the crafted and the tailored, was somehow fitting in the current, violent circumstances. The show’s guests definitely felt a feeling of anxiety once they saw the venue: barely lit cavernous space, fit for a rave, the entrance shrouded in foliage, enormous concrete breeze blocks where a runway would usually be, and yet more foliage framing this picture of dystopian revelry. Last season’s show, set to a soundtrack by the genius Dev Hynes and art directed by the equally genius Babak Radboy (both Dev and Babak were involved in this season’s proceedings too) was a joyful, cathartic gathering, bringing people together as physical shows returned. Then Risso offered a moving and sincere treatise on events in the fashion world an captured the moment beautifully. This time round, Risso was questioning what’s next, according to the emailed show notes. “The future came and went, leaving us alone, but together in the dark, but lighter than before,” Risso wrote. “Where do we go after? Where are we bound, beyond what binds us to each other?

It’s become a thing for fashion to speak of community, but with Risso’s casting, it was a disparate and unconnected band of individuals who made their way via flashlight around the venue; nothing slickly and self-consciously unified about this group, wearing looks from autumn 2022 that suggested communality: anyone could be wearing anything – and who cares? They might be in dresses in washed mottled pastels which had then been patched or cut into strands or glistened with beads; long shearling coats wrapped on the bias across the body, as much naive gesture as practical fastening; irregularly checked (and snappily cut) pantsuits; full skirted deb dresses, overdyed, as if tried at home and then gone a bit wrong, but in a good way; and raggedy sweater sleeves trailing to the floor from under the cuffs of trad Crombie coats. Almost everyone was bearing some kind of crown of twine and twigs, or elaborate head wraps, which were actually jackets folded and twisted, as if in preparation for some magical, arcane ceremony (you can always on Julien d’Ys to deliver amazing headwear). Risso himself appeared in the show, his now dirty platinum hair surmounted by a fine pair of tiny horns. That he walked speaks volumes; a denial of the idea that designers have some divinely ordained remove from the same shit and the same joy that the rest of us are going through. His Marni has increasingly shifted – and now, with this show and the last, decisively so – into a world less of fanciful fashion remove, but instead reflective of all the ecstasy and confusion and disillusionment and love and kinship that we can all recognize and empathize with. It’s a pretty brave step, to not want to just keep offering up a familiar and reassuring idea of what a high-end brand can do, retreading the same ground, especially at a time when the fashion industry, despite proclaiming the need for change, has snapped back to business as usual pretty darn quick. In the end of the show, those wandering around in the dark eventually found the light. They came out blinking into the bright and glorious Milanese sunlight to an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter’s tea party, long tables set up in the rough hewn industrial courtyard, their tops groaning with fruit tarts and elaborate cakes and jello in hallucinogenic shades. Risso’s cast milled around, ate, laughed, chatted and hung out. Hopefully, our future will look as carefree as this moment.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Assemblage. Marni AW20

While the topic of sustainability seems to be utterly dormant in Milan, at least you’ve got Marni‘s Francesco Risso that takes some steps in order to address it. The collection used what appeared to be fragments of existing garments: take the cardigan dresses created from several different pieces of knitwear, each element linked with the crude stitchery of a child in a craft workshop. The remnant scraps produced in their manufacture, Risso noted, had been regenerated to create smaller elements such as the purses shaped like Victorian carpetbags or the old-fashioned wrestlers’ shoes. Risso described the effect as DIY, and the deliberate naivete continued with the magnificent finale pieces made using scraps of humble cotton fabric patchworked together with shards of cut velvet woven by hand in a factory in Venice on looms that were originally designed by Leonardo da Vinci – a vanishing, time-consuming craft that Risso understandably wants to “protect and exalt.” “They are basically our new furs,” he said of these precious garments. The collection, as the designer explained, was “collaged from the beginning to the end – from macro to micro to fractal. It’s about putting together remnants.” Julien d’Ys gold and silver dust make-up and lacquered hair on the models added even more spark to Risso’s wearable assemblage. Gorgeous.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

#InstaLOVE – July 2017

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I am an Instagram maniac and I openly confess that I spend too much time on filtering my feed. But it’s irresistible, when you have so many great accounts to follow! If you’re ready for a dose of beautifully curated walls, inspiring photos and delightful shots – see my July recommendations!

@juliendys / For a reason, Julien D’Ys (or ‘Juju’, as Linda Evangelista likes to say) is called the hair-magician. The legendary coiffeur is known for his incredible hairstyles and colossal wigs seen at Comme Des Garçons, and lately has been on everybody’s lips after Azzedine Alaïa presented his haute couture collection with statuesque Nefertiti head-sculptures (as seen on Naomi Campbell). Once you follow Julien, you will become obsessed with his impressively emotional paintings and blurry photos of people on the streets.

@vanravenstein / Van Ravenstein is Amsterdam’s go-to store for Ann Demeulemeester, Vetements, Junya Watanabe and Dries Van Noten – in other words, fashion’s real pearls. Moody showroom snaps and styling tricks quaranteed.

@paloma_powersAn endless mood-board of ‘new type art agency’. Bold throwbacks of Cher on stage or lounging Charlotte Rampling on a red sofa. Must-follow!

AND, if you want to follow one more account on Instagram… why don’t you follow, ta-da, @designandculturebyed?

Erotic Decadence. Comme des Garçons AW16


“18th century punk” is how Rei Kawakubo, the 73-year old designer behind Comme des Garçons entitled her autumn-winter 2016. But don’t expect opulent ball-dresses with tomahawks (although Julien D’Ys, Rei’s long-time collaborator, created those grandiose hair constructions for this occasion)  – this collection pushed all the possible concepts of both, the past of historical costumes and punk. And, it was really all about sex and fantasies, with gigantic tongues, and – well, let your naughty imagination work it out – layered garments with “balls”, rendered in Lyon’s finest (and most expensive) tapestry. The closing look worn by Anna Cleveland, so the pastel-pink, leather piece with exaggerated, ruffled sleeves was a defiant reconstruction of Marie Antoinette’s coat, in which she would surely have a cupcake, or two. It subtly exposed calves, just like the rest of the extraordinary “dresses”. Another look, also in the same shade of pink, was an elongated blazers with harness belts tied all around the model’s body, while the floral armor made of booming, red fur pom poms shouted one thing – make love, don’t fight. There was a decadent, bourgeois feeling of couture, but simultaneously, Kawakubo broke up with chambre syndicale conventions, and totally ripped the French fanciness off. Who do you call a rebel now?

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