Marni FW24 existed outside of time, space, and influence

Marni FW24 existed outside of time, space, and influence

by Robyn Pullen
4 min

Marni Fall/Winter 2024 was about the real, raw, and innately human process of designing clothes. Opening his show notes by saying, “As a child, I had no aspirations of becoming a designer,” Creative Director Francesco Risso explains the brand’s thought-process behind its latest collection, relaying how he used to treat designing fashion as something of a “raw nerve,” or an innate sensation. This is why, for FW24, Marni has forbidden “any images or references from seeping into [its] design process,” returning to a method of design that comes naturally. Here’s how it translated into Marni’s Fall/Winter 2024 collection.

Set on the inside of a papier-mâché cave, Marni’s FW24 show took place outside of time, space, and all external inspiration. It was as though, upon entering Marni’s cave, the real world ceased to exist: there was only Marni. Referencing a comment once made by Virginia Woolf, Risso’s show notes finished with the line, “If by chance you enter a paper cave, bring no clothes,” but he wasn’t asking his guests, who included the likes of Ye and Bianca West, to arrive undressed. Risso was talking about the idea of shedding all outside influences, leaving everything behind at the door and watching Marni’s FW24 show unaffected by anything other than what you can “feel, sniff, observe.”

Perhaps a reason behind Francesco Risso’s complete eradication of external inspiration, influence, and images when designing his latest collection is due to the backlash that occurred after his Spring/Summer 2024 collection in September, particularly against one look: the sticker dress. Given that conceptual artist @slxw_____ took to Instagram after Marni’s SS24 show to accuse the brand of stealing their work and passing it off as its own, its arguable that Francesco Risso has taken a route totally devoid of outside inspiration to prove that he doesn’t rely on theft to create his collections. Marni’s FW24 collection is irrefutably its own.

The first selection of looks Francesco Risso presented this season were structured, simple, and all black. Elevated tailoring featured on wide-shouldered, oversized jackets paired with sleek, black leather gloves. This appeared to be our first lesson on Marni’s innate understanding of design, stripping looks back to their core elements. An oversized jacket complete with attached gloves appeared in a hypnotic print evocative of TV static, with silver and black flashing as the model walked, before giving way to a stark, stiff, and sculptural black dress cut into a deep V-neck and paired with long, ruched gloves. 

Then… hair. First a series of models carrying armfuls of black hair entered the runway, before looks with hair covering almost the entire garment were seen. Trailing from models’ heads and down the backs of tailored coats, hanging from their arms and sleeves, draping over the floor behind them as they walked, hair was everywhere. Perhaps this was as a reference to the literalisation of fashion design as “innate,” stripping back to the core materials we’ve always had to work with.

The hair was followed by animal print, only bolder and more synthetic, appearing on tunic-style dresses and outerwear, and then silver and off-white jacquard capes and dresses, glittering in a more traditionally Marni style. SIlhouettes were cropped, dragged, cut, and lengthened in every direction, transforming garments into unusual shapes and subverting models’ body-shapes. An oversized jacket which ended above the leg then appeared, covered in furry spikes, and a selection of bags made entirely from hair, before the jacquard looks transformed in colour, taking on blue, red, and pink iterations.

Marni’s FW24 collection was a return “to an almost animal state,” as Francesco Risso described. “In the continuous, animal act of digging towards that deepest essence, we have erased more of that which congests – all the gluttony of structure and information.” In a time when inspiration and creation are dominated by the concept of influence, and the influencer, discarding everything we’ve come to know – all inspiration, all external sources – is a bold decision and one that would terrify a lot of designers. But what’s more terrifying: abandoning the world for a papier-mâché cave, or never truly knowing if your work is original?

Featured image via @nikhilmansata ©

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