By Heba Elkayal
For spring, fans of the Italian brand Marni will get to delight in the newest H&M designer collaboration. Identified by colorful prints and unconventional silhouettes, Marni’s designs are worn by celebrities and women with an insouciant attitude of cooler than cool.
H&M, the Swedish high street store, has joined forces with Marni to create a collection of high fashion aesthetics at high street prices, similar to previous collaborations with Karl Lagerfeld, Matthew Williamson, Albert Elbaz of Lanvin and, most recently, Versace.
Unlike other designer brands, Marni has, since its founding, delivered collections that rely on visual rather than physical artistry — whether it be unconventional prints and patterns or eclectic combinations of textures, colors and forms.
Best of all, it has been responsible for setting new fashion rules: plastic jewelry can be chic, accessories are best only if they have a touch of the absurd, a new definition of feminine has been articulated that doesn’t require a short hemline, high fashion doesn’t need to be cold.
For this collaboration, Marni’s founder and creative head Consuelo Castiglioni produced a modular collection that delivers the brand’s identity through a variety of pieces that can be endlessly combined, resulting in spring looks that are quirky yet practical and modern for day to day wear.
The items are as casual as the attitude you wear them with. The collection will deliver Marni’s usual aesthetic to fans who can’t afford its hefty price tag.
The collection’s highlights are many: jacket and skirt ensembles in a polka-dotted print, a silk dress with an African print, a silk pajama-style top with matching shorts, and various tops that have been streamlined with a sporty finale. A swimsuit with a cute ruffle, its pattern is available on a blouse as well, and a rich purple and gold pattern on a shirt and Capri-style pants give the collection a depth that is rarely to be found during designer brand collaborations. Easily, a whole wardrobe can be created from this one collection.
Marni, famous for its jewelry and accessories such as the now classic Balloon Bag and colorful bright Middle Eastern inspired sandals, delivers such items in the range of accessories designed for H&M. Leather, plastic and touches of neon in the accessories, there’s much to play with and layer onto one’s outfit.
The men also get a collection of great designs: parkas that can be worn over suits, cashmere sweaters, suits that can be worn with pants that hit at the ankle — the new ankle length that Italian men are exporting to the world — or shorts for a casual spin on things.
The men’s collection too is modular, allowing customers to create a collection of pieces that can be mixed easily.
The collection will be available in stores in Egypt starting April 24. Prices range from LE 199 to LE 1,299.
A rich purple and gold pattern is set on a casually-cut blouse and pants ensemble. (Mickey Camp/ Photo courtesy of H&M)
Q&A with Consuelo Castiglioni: Queen of quirky chic
Daily News Egypt: I’ve grappled with the identity of the Marni woman but as I hit my mid-20s, I feel I understand her more. She’s a woman who’s “unlearning” the supposed rules of fashion of short tight lines and hyper sexualized trends. The Marni woman has a very playful spirit to her dress sensibility. Is this what you aim to do?
Consuelo Castiglioni: That’s exactly what Marni is all about: It’s about using instinct and imagination, experimenting with colors, shapes and textures, ultimately using clothes as a way to express oneself.
For a brand that has a very strong personal identity and aesthetic, how do you create collections that adhere to that individuality of Marni yet ensuring that it is still part of collective current trends, either globally or on the catwalk?
Marni is more about personal taste than current trends. However, as a woman who is curious and observes everything around her, I am sensible to the spirit of the times, and that is reflected in my collections.
What was most important for you to accomplish on a more personal creative level with this collaboration with H&M?
My main aim, and the biggest inspiration, is the possibility to reach a wider audience with this collection and in particular the younger generations.
I suspect your collection will be successful in the Middle East because we love to wear bold colors and patterns and pieces by Marni are never too revealing. Are you ever influenced by the Middle East? And is that somehow related to why the campaign video was shot in Morocco?
I am influenced by travels in general. I love to observe. I am very curious and open to different cultures.
Marin’s accessories, both jewelry and handbags, are some of the most original on the fashion scene — from your use of plexiglass in necklaces to the shape of your balloon bag. What’s your inspiration behind your accessories collections? How have you managed to replicate that for H&M?
I love accessories, because they add another layer to each outfit: they allow the wearer to play and experiment. I love to play with shapes and materials, creating new forms and new solutions, and of course I did include them in the H&M collection. I am particularly proud of the jewelry.