Sunday 12th January

| BY Dino Bonacic

Marni: Menswear AW20

It’s always a party at Marni. Whether or not your into the quirkiness of Francesco Risso’s designs, his spirit is infectious and takes over any room it enters. For AW20, there were plenty of rooms and tunnels, all dark and showered in colourful neon lights. Entering the venue felt like heading into a bunker and looking for an escape from reality – a slightly more modern interpretation of what Prince Prospero had to go through while trying to escape the plague. The main character of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 short story The Masque of the Red Death was not only the protagonist in Risso’s lastest outing but also its titular character, with even the collection’s name (A Call from Prince Prospero) paying homage. All very poetic and intellectual, explored even further thanks to a collaboration with Italian artist and choreographer Michele Rizzo who was in charge of the indulgent chaos on the catwalk. The models marched as if running away from something, once again referencing the characters in Poe’s masterpiece.

But if the performance provided chaos and unruliness, the actual clothes were in fact Risso’s most commercial offerings yet. Mismatched with the styling of the looks to embrace the madness, there were lots of simplistic lines in wild prints and vibrant colours that could easily be broken down and introduced to your next season’s wardrobe. But there were also plenty of dreams in there two – bipolar coats in contrasting materials with asymmetrical lengths, distorted trainers that will make your feet look as if you swapped the left for the right, the micro polo shirts that look great both with and without something underneath… If  you looked hard – and you had to look really hard with all the catwalk havoc happening – you could find some unique techniques in there too, such as the leather corduroy which was crafted into some of the oversized outerwear.

At the end of The Masque of the Red Death, the characters fall victim to the complicated set-up of Prospero’s castle as masked death comes to take them during a Masquerade Ball. Thankfully, in Risso’s interpretation everyone made it out of the venue unharmed, only plagued with a shopping list that will surely break the bank…

Photographs by Jason-Lloyd Evans.