Marni was born in Milan in 1994 from the vision of the Swiss-born designer Consuelo Casiglioni. It is a brand that does not like stereotypes, has a playful spirit and an experimental approach. The designer began her professional training within the fur company of her husband’s family. Consueto Casiglioni immediately stands out for its unique style and the ability to transform a classic like fur into something innovative. She uses fur not only to make outerwear but applies it to any item of the wardrobe, making it absolutely modern.
Marni was born as a family business: her husband, Gianni Castiglioni, manages the finances and their children are part of the team; the brand is entirely Italian, everything is made “in house”, from design to production. The fashion house opened its first boutique in 2000 in London on Sloane Street, thus starting a decade of strong, global, expansion of the brand with the opening of stores in Milan, Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. In 2002, the men’s line was also launched, followed by jewellery and glasses.
Marni’s style is bohemian, inspired by art and sees fashion as a means of personal expression.
This is why the brand has an immediately recognizable but unpredictable aesthetic. The collections are eclectic, characterized by a mix & match of prints, overlapping fabrics and contrasts of unexpected colors: neutral tones such as black, beige and green prevail but are always broken by touches of bold nuances such as yellow, fuchsia, blue and red. The cuts are original, the silhouettes are soft and squared and often characterized by asymmetries and maxi volumes.
The jewels are original thanks to the geometries, the large size and the use of materials such as carved wood and shaped plastics. Among the most popular accessories are the Fussbett sandals, with a raised sole and with a simple cross with wide bands on the top; the Balloon Bag, a maxi bag in soft leather with oval handle and rigid corners; the Trunk bag, a shoulder bag characterized by internal compartments that creates a bellows sculptural design.
Marni and online sales
They launched in 2006 the Marni Virtual Store, becoming one of the first brands to focus on online sales, where in addition to buying garments, you can immerse yourself in the world of Marni, dedicated to artistic collaborations. Marni is generally exempt from conventional marketing strategies; its success is due to a passionate niche of customers that has made the Maison a real cult.
The same year, Consuelo Castiglioni received the theme award “The Visionaries” from Fashion Group International and is presented by the artist Cindy Sherman who describes her: “Consuelo is an inventor, an anti-conformist, she experiments with unusual materials, a fold here, a weave there! You look at a dress on a coat hanger and you have no idea how sublime it is when you wear it”. The artists with whom she collaborates or gets inspired from for her collections are many, including Phillip Allen, Richard Prince, Peter Blake and Kim Gordon.
Marni’s fashion interpreted as an artistic journey
In 2012 the brand was acquired by the OTB group of Renzo Rosso, founder of Diesel, and launched a Capsule Collection in collaboration with H&M. To confirm the strong relationship with the world of art, in 2015 during the 56th Venice Biennale the installation “Becoming Marni” was created, consisting of one hundred wooden sculptures by the Brazilian artist Véio. In 2016 the creative direction goes to Francesco Risso: the designer comes from a training in the largest fashion schools, such as the Central Saint Martins in London, and from work experiences at Anna Molinari, Alessandro Dell’Acqua and Prada.
The designer has fully embraced the creative DNA of the brand continuing to interpret fashion as an artistic journey and a tribute to craftsmanship. Some of the video presentations of the fashion shows are real works of conceptual performances, in which it is shown how clothes are an expression able to create a community.
Cover Image: grazia