Fashion
  • Text Jake Hall
  • Photography Emily Malan
  • 22nd February 2020

Down the rabbit hole

Marni’s FW20 show notes opened with an excerpt of a “future conversation that took place in the past”, between a pre-rabbit hole Alice and a mysterious “Venus of Rags.” This mythical creature, “usually in full drag”, embodies creative director Francesco Risso’s dedication to sustainability. “Please make sure you make do, mend, and that you never bend,” Venus urges. “Take scraps, bits and pieces, never to be shredded into pieces.”

This ethos underpins the collection, which sees garments carefully deconstructed and geometric patterns spliced together from various scraps of fabric. Collaged knitwear comes with oversized, contrast stitching, whereas dresses are often split in half and tied together with ribbon, or super-short but fitted with a patch of flowing, floor-length chiffon, taking asymmetry to the extreme. Keyhole cut-outs and hacked-off hems recur as design details – especially in the final looks, which best embody the off-kilter glamour that Risso champions.

The overall visual impact is amplified by the lashings of glitter and face paint slicked across models’ hair and bodies – a nod to the surrealist fantasy of Alice in Wonderland, no doubt. It’s always a pleasure when fashion takes us down a rabbit hole, but it’s doubly pleasing when there’s a message within the madness.