Magic marni


The cutting-edge cool of Marni’s graphic prints are about to hit the high street, writes DEIRDRE MCQUILLAN

WITH HM ABOUT to launch its collaboration with Marni – which goes on sale on March 8th, this will be one collection eagerly anticipated by savvy, fashion-conscious women. It’s not for everyone, but its juxtaposition of colours, patterns, stripes and textures, a kind of constructivist approach to African batik with Pop Art thrown into the jazzy mix, is totally original, totally modern and totally affordable. And the jewellery is terrific too.

The label divides opinion, though most people love the accessories. There are those who fall for the offbeat shapes, the quirky colour combinations and abstract patterning that leave others cold and nonplussed. But Consuelo Castiglioni, the designer of Marni has her high-profile followers, notably Jane Shepherdson, mastermind of Topshop’s success and now casting her magic wand over Whistles, who goes to Marni for “beautiful one-off pieces”, as she recently told Elle.

“High on prints and spring energy,” is how HM describe the new collection. There’s a sporty feel to its shorts and shirts, its zany brown/black stripe leggings and the use of sleek lilac brocade for daywear. The collection, drawn from the signature Marni prints and fabrics in its repertoire, is playful and elegant and includes shoes, bags and scarves, appliqué T-shirts and a menswear collection. “It is great to speak to a wider audience,” says Castiglioni, and the wider audience will appreciate the finer price points. Fabrics range from silk, to cotton poplin and cashmere, shapes from ladylike coats, jacket and skirt ensembles to sporty zip-up blousons and parkas that can be worn in a modern, streetwise way, slung casually around the waist.