Runway Review | Marni Spring 2015:

Marni is turning 20, and to mark the anniversary, Consuelo, Gianni, and Carolina Castiglioni turned Rotonda della Besana, a famous 18th-century building complex, into a massive flower market, selling not just plants but also witty, colorful garden accessories à la Marni. "Our own way to celebrate," said Consuelo. "No retrospective. We wanted to do something more in our spirit."

The collection Consuelo showed today was also very much in the Marni spirit: a unique combination of the experimental, the graphic, and the purely feminine. The show opened with a blank canvas, a toile—the breathing space between what was and what will be. It ended with that same raw foundation, except that now it was decked with torrents of mirrors and crystals and explosions of raffia flowers.

So we were definitely on a journey with this collection. From first look to last, the immediate impression was of a new kind of physicality for Marni. That first look—a plain linen shift, raw-edged—was tied with a judo belt. There were pieces that were almost monastic in their plainness, but when they turned on the catwalk, they had deep, sensual Vs at the back. Outfits wrapped and layered would erupt into a flurry of white cotton ruffles. And there was a steady accumulation of color. Picture that original toile as a canvas on which an artist splashed and smeared and worked stuff out. MAR_0451 It was hard to pick highlights. Perhaps the pieces made from cut chiffon embroidered on canvas, a beautiful effect that looked like densely piled ruching. (Consuelo called it "summer fur.") Or the glam leather jackets bonded with lacquered flowers. Or the simple momentum of an asymmetrical skirt swirling around the body. But the flower market brought something else to the fore: the sheerly organic quality of Marni, the notion that one thing breathes life into the next. Consuelo had recently been in Bhutan, and the long sleeves and big cuffs of the school uniforms there impressed her so much she built them into her new collection. But there were also old Marni prints that reappeared here on jacquard silk. As a 20th anniversary collection, it was a perfect way station between the past and the future.

Shop current Marni products at: Marissa Collections