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Marni in Paris

28 September 2023

Spring/Summer 2024

It’s 1:30 p.m. in Paris. People dressed in polka-dot jackets, pinstripe suits, and brightly coloured sweaters hurry to the entrance of Karl Lagerfeld’s former house on rue de l’université. With no hesitation, they are going to Marni’s Spring/Summer 2024 runway show. In the private mansion, adorned with red walls and golden mouldings, guests find themselves seated upon a continuous white tubular-shaped inflatable, which snakes through the entire house, passing through the illustrious garden where a white-clad orchestra is perched.

Established in 1994, Marni has earned its reputation as an avant-garde luxury fashion brand. Renowned for its rebellious colourful collections, Marni embraces individuality by way of its distinct use of materials, hues, and unparalleled affinity for patterns and forms. Francesco Risso, a 40-year-old Sardinian native and Central Saint Martins graduate, has overseen the artistic direction since 2016. Having spent eight years at Prada and with prior experiences at both Blumarine and Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Risso has successfully reimagined Marni’s vision and style.

For this spring/summer 2024 collection and Marni’s first show in Paris, Risso chose to reminisce about his first trip to the French capital at the age of 14. On a handwritten letter, which serves as the invitation for the show, Risso recalled the time when he fell in love at a party. I was in Pigalle, at a party, on a sofa alone. A creature floated in, then disappeared, only leaving their scent behind. The letter continues, recounting how he and his friend would pass their time by sitting at the window, eagerly anticipating the moment when their neighbour, Karl Lagerfeld—Rossi’s fashion hero—would step out from his residence.

As the orchestra’s initial note resonates, a model takes her first steps along the meandering runway, dressed in a sleeveless old-blue turtleneck paired with a long suede skirt with a low-rise waistline. For this season, Risso revisits the brand’s classic traits, or what he calls the “three ideas of Marni: stripes, checks, and flowers”, in a softer than usual, almost organic colour palette. The skirts are also longer than usual, and the dresses are even smaller. Both male and female models wore the items, reinforcing the collection's fluidity and demonstrating the brand's dedication to gender-inclusive fashion.

With a blend of prints, suits, layering and bare-back or side-hoop skirts, the collection embodies two of Risso’s objectives: pleasure and wearability. The chequered knitwear was meticulously crafted with a single piece of fabric that was rendered with a specialised technology that allows for zero waste. The shoes and knee-high socks had a trompe-l'œil effect in their construction and tone. Together with the silhouettes, they created a harmonious and visually captivating ensemble.

Among the many standouts were the exquisitely crafted dresses with layered hand-cut flowers skilfully stitched onto cotton fabric. Some other designs even featured vibrant wire stems that jutted and protruded, brushing the audience. These dresses were paired with metal flowers, meticulously cut from hundreds of tin cans, showcasing Rossi’s collage-like sensibility.

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By James Robinson

SEE ISSUE #06 HERE. The theme for this issue, Revelations, delves into the unfiltered aspects of life. It’s an appreciation and exploration of raw beauty, where authenticity reigns supreme; the unconventional is not just accepted but celebrated. In a world of manufactured perfection, this issue chooses to validate our quirks and idiosyncrasies. After all, they are what make us inimitable.

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