"It's austere but with a romanticism," Consuelo Castiglioni said of the Fall 2013 collection she sent out in Milan Sunday. Sure enough, this was a sparser, darker collection than fans of the quirky-retro brand have come to expect.
After months of speculation that Diesel founder Renzo Rosso would buy a stake in Marni, Rosso confirmed on Thursday that the brand is now in his portfolio.
The exact figures of the deal were not disclosed, but Reuters reports that Rosso made the acquisition through his holding company, Only the Brave, which in addition to Diesel also controls Maison Martin Margiela and Viktor & Rolf. Rosso told WWD that it's his ultimate goal to crate the industry's next big fashion conglomerate.
"It's my big dream to create a modern group that is an alternative to the existing ones," he said. "We are beginning to become one such group, and we are working on consolidating it."
Rosso's investment will not only help open more Marni boutiques around the world, but also push the brand into markets like China. That's the kind of support Marni founder and CEO Gianni Castiglioni said he was looking for in October.
"We would like to double our sales in five years through a further development of retail but without drastically overturning our company," he said. "I would be open to consider a partner only if he would share my vision in managing the company. We are looking at industrial partners that can provide competence and long-term vision."
Industrially speaking, Rosso is a good fit. Through its subsidiaries, Only the Brave manufactures clothing for Vivienne Westwood, Dsquared2, and Marc Jacobs's menswear line. Rosso is also invested in the ecommerce giant Yoox, and in Marcolin, a company that produces eyewear for Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, and — naturally — Diesel.
Consuelo Castiglioni's "weightless exploration of volume" for Spring 2013 resulted in a collection that felt pared down, powerful, and right on point for the season. Roomy, sculpted shapes were the main story here, with silhouettes focusing on strong shoulders on top and A-line shapes below the waist. Leather and canvas tunics, shirts, and jackets were cut with wide, square sleeves, while deep necklines helped to underscore the careful geometry of each piece. Peplums with structured flares and skirts with loosely folded pleats gave a feminine airiness to a series of dresses and coats, and the effect was modern and elegant at once. And though most looks came in monochrome solids — black, dark green, aqua, coral, and lavender — Castiglioni didn't neglect her more playful side either; there were also optical Bauhaus-inspired prints, shiny jacquards, and a tinsel-like fur worked into the mix.
With more restraint than we're used to seeing from Marni, Consuelo Castiglioni tempered her lineup of prints in favor of solids and minimalist leather. That's not to say that this collection doesn't make any references to Marni's signature print play — in fact, it opens with graphic window-pane prints and finishes out with a few bolder floral coats and dresses; but the meat of this collection is a simpler side, punctuated with exaggerated proportions and a touch of leather. Voluminous, yes, but womanly shapes are not entirely lost — Castiglioni makes references to more feminine silhouettes with her takes on peplum, dressing with subtle fit-and-flare shapes and coats with ties at the waist. Right down to the streamlined clutches and minimalist ankle-strap heels, it's contemporary and coolly crafted, all with a dose — however restrained — of Marni's signature in a touch of jacquard, a flash of whimsical florals, and even a look finished in embellished shag as the show neared its finale.
- Trends: Peplum, leather, jacquard, graphic checkered and floral prints.
- Colors: Black, white, tan, forest green, petal pink, burgundy, coral, mustard, purple.
- Key Piece: The modernist plays on peplum.
- Accessories: Ankle-strap heels and platforms, ladylike purses, streamlined clutches.
- Who Should Wear It: Quirky, sweet stylers with a fashion-forward side, like Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone.
Consuelo Castiglioni went west for Resort 2013 collection, offering up masculine shirts decorated with golden studs and short bib necklaces that served as updated versions of classic bolo ties. Stylized floral prints and embroidery referenced bandanas, while a diamond-shaped pattern called to mind rattlesnake skin. Castiglioni kept things modern by offering pleated, midlength skirts and multicolored work shirts — just perfect for citified cowgirls.
>> H&M already has its next designer collaboration lined up: Marni. The collection, which encompasses womenswear, menswear, jewelry, shoes, bags, and scarves, hits 260 H&M stores worldwide and online on March 8, 2012.
Look forward to tribal prints mixed with colorful Bauhaus graphics: "I wanted to create a true Marni wardrobe by revisiting all our favorite pieces in signature fabrics and prints," explains Consuelo Castiglioni. "As always, I love juxtaposing prints and colors, mixing modern tribal with Bauhaus graphic adding sporty utilitarian elements."
According to the collection's press release: "For women, the colors are vivid and the prints are bold, be they African inspired or simpler color blocks. The silhouettes are all Marni staples, with full pleated skirts, dresses, cropped trousers and jacquard knit, and fabrics range from silk to crisp cotton poplin. For men, the colors and fabrics are softened for a relaxed take on menswear staples that is truly Marni. The use of print is subtle, often as a lining or as a contrast detail for shirts, the silhouette a modern and relaxed take on masculine classics."
A further peek at the collection in the video below.
>> Marni never fails to bring home the eclectic splendor, and its Pre-Fall collection only solidifies Consuelo Castiglioni's creative edge. Castiglioni describes the collection as "witty, easy, oversized — a complete wardrobe for a total individual." Take a look at the complete mix, featuring bold striped knits, silk sweatshirts, abstract floral print dresses, and quilted skirts, in the slideshow.
>> Consuelo Castiglioni's husband (and Marni CEO) Gianni Castiglioni showed off the first peek of his newest acquisition via Vionnet's Cruise 2010 collection yesterday, and today it's all about Consuelo's ladies who lunch-inspired Marni Cruise 2010 collection. Styled with loafers and clashing mannish dark socks, the goods are less about frills and more about her quirky cuts, crazy patterns, bug-eyed glasses, and a few contrast button-downs similar to those at Prada.
>> While her husband's got his fingers in the new Vionnet pie, Consuelo Castiglioni worked her hand at Marni, earning rave reviews across the board — reviews that probably weren't hurt by the fact that more than one fashion editor left the brand's outlet in Milan happy. The eternal mixmaster may have turned down the brights from Spring, but there was still plenty to look at — bib necklaces, fur earmuffs and mittens, patterned tights — and let's not forget those standout geometric jacquard dresses, done just right in jeweltone metallics.