Ask any fashion lover if she covets a piece of Marni and you’re likely to hear exclamations of adoration, amazement and longing. After all, it’s near impossible to resist the bold, colourful resin jewellery, sport-influenced shoes and modern, graphic patterns synonymous with the Italian designer brand.
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Where to find the collection:
Toronto: Eaton Centre, Yorkdale Mall and Bloor St.
Calgary: TD Square/The Core
Montreal: Peel/St.Catherine and Rockland Centre
Vancouver: Pacific Centre
On March 8, these signatures will no doubt prompt mile-long lineups of admirers anxious to get their hands on a piece of Marni at H&M, the latest in an esteemed list of collaborations. “I wanted to create a collection of Marni signatures,” says founder and creative director Consuelo Castiglioni of the 100 pieces, which include 70 items of women’s clothing and accessories. “Everything is there, everything we like,” she continues. “All the combinations of brocade, knit and prints, the pyjamas with the athletic details, the patterns, the leggings, and all the jewellery—it’s a real little Marni collection.”
Marni, a family company founded in 1994, is perhaps a curious choice for the fast fashion retailer. Compared to previous collaborators such as Jimmy Choo and Versace, offbeat Marni is decidedly less mass market, even if the partnership is a dream come true for the fashion cognoscenti. “I’m very curious and open to new challenges,” explains Castiglioni. “Bringing Marni to a wider audience is a challenge,” she says of the project that was nearly a year in the making. “We have a wide range of customers, but with H&M it becomes more democratic.”
“We like to change, to do something different,” says H&M creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch of the company’s decision to approach Marni, which is more about inventive fashion and less about dressing the red carpet. Choosing Marni proves that H&M isn’t just about following or recreating trends; it’s about appreciating design, being adventurous in fashion and, above all, having fun with it. Not coincidentally, these are values embodied both by Castiglioni and her fans, which include Maggie Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and Kirsten Dunst—fashion insiders respected for their individual, often non-conformist sense of style.
Asking any designer to choose her favourite pieces is like asking a mother who her favourite child is, and for Castiglioni, the hardest part was, in fact, trimming the assortment down. “I conceived this collection as a range of possibilities and made sure that everything goes with everything,” she explains. “The result is effortless, but in fact it comes from a long editing process.” Marni at H&M has her signature sporty elements (Castiglioni is an avid skier, swimmer and equestrian); a bold palette of neutrals peppered with lemon, rust, orange and gold; and, of course, exclusive prints. “It’s always [about] something unexpected—a mix of colours, textures, materials and proportions,” she says.
Silhouettes range from full pleated skirts to ankle-grazing pants. A neat jacket and skirt ensemble in crisp cotton with a quirky dot pattern and fluid silk dresses with tribal motifs contrast with relaxed, shell jackets, patent leather zip-up tops with knit sleeves and leggings covered in slightly Bauhaus stripes. As for the star of the collection, Castiglioni admits that the lilac and gold brocade lounge set with cropped pants is her favourite.
And oh, the accessories! Sequined shirt collars make for brilliant necklaces, and anyone who has ever desired a pair of statement earrings or a sculptural Marni necklace of glossy buds and blossoms is in luck: They’re available in spades. Bright, foldable totes and simple footwear—flat, earth-explorer sandals, open-toed platform slingbacks and metallic pumps with a wooden sole and stacked heel—are the epitome of eclectic playfulness. It’s about time that Marni’s adventurous spirit brightened many more closets.