MFW SS20: Marni

TWO critiques have been perennially levelled against fashion: firstly, that fashion is mere fun and frivolity; and secondly, that fashion is complicit in harming the environment by only encouraging more and more consumption with its way of operating in trend-led cycles. These critiques may seem paradoxically impossible to reconcile – after all, how can fashion still be fun, loud and extravagant while keeping in mind more serious considerations that have global repercussions? For Francesco Risso at Marni, this doesn’t pose a problem at all. For SS20, the designer presented a collection that was playful, vibrant, over-the-top and environmentally-conscious to boot.

The collection is conceptually founded upon a drug of Risso’s imagination, Tachitropirina. According to the show notes, take the drug and you’ll embark upon a trip of tree-hugging psychedelia. Nature was most definitely at the core of the collection: botanical imagery abound in a multitude of brightly-hued prints that seemed almost handpainted and reminiscent of the Fauvist paintings – all upcycled textiles which reiterate Risso’s commitment to saving the environment. These were constructed as pouffy bubble skirts oversized jackets, and paired with comfy heels reminiscent of beach slippers. Because what else do we wear for a walk in the park?

Organic cottons and upcycled leather were present as smock tops and mermaid skirts in explosive shades of green and blue, like grass and sky. Also notable were a few slinky, fluid dresses on which netted layers with crocheted foliage hung. We couldn’t help but think of ghost fishing nets in the sea, trapping marine flora and fauna. Knitwear was torn and asymmetrically donned, while tops and skirts were knotted haphazardly. Is nature in a mess? This sentiment is surely a clear message of how urgently the earth needs our help.


In the dream world of Risso’s imaginary drug, the focus on nature is loud and proud. His commitment to recycling is certainly commendable, considering that fashion is the world’s second most polluting industry. As the rest of the world protested on the streets last Friday in the name of climate activism, in the fashion world, Francesco Risso leads the march.

by Kay Ean Leong

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