There is a palpable feeling of unrest in Milan this morning. French airline pilots announced late yesterday that they are extending their strike. With Paris Fashion Week opening on Tuesday, there is a lot of concern about being able to get there on time. As a result, a large number of editors and buyers are at the airport this morning rather than attending any of the day’s shows. By tomorrow, only those with private passage will remain. Schedules are being altered. Shows are being dropped. Effectively, this is the last day of Milan Fashion Week. Fortunately, it starts out quite lovely.

Consuelo Castiglioni refuses to be limited to any kind of stylistic label and this spring/summer Marni collection reinforces her subtle subversiveness as she artfully blends dramatic floral prints with minimalist silhouettes in ways that beautifully manage to avoid definition. With Marni, women almost get to pick and choose their favorite style elements from across the various style genres and put them together their own way. There are some limitations, of course. All the shoulders are padded at least a bit.  Lines run  a  bit longer and silhouettes sometimes dramatically fuller, but the collection is perfect for the woman who doesn’t want to look exactly like everyone else.

Castiglioni starts the collection off softly blending a sugar almond with black and white cinched at the waste with very long black furry belts, almost as if one were wearing a bath robe but a lot nicer. She gradually eases in a sport of color here, a panel of blue or green there, before making the switch over to bright yellow floral patterns. When she transitions to the prints, silhouettes become just slightly more lean and the ties at the waste are now made of rope. Many of the silhouettes here hint at more traditional designs, and at one point I thought I saw a pencil skirt with ruffle along the seam, but that flowed into a white minimalist curve in an unexpectedly attractive switch. Dropped waistlines on a couple of silk dresses also catch one a bit by surprise.

Further into the presentation, the embellishments start coming more frequently and the last several looks are full of an array of fantastic bead work and incredibly detailed sequin placement. Glitter happens precisely where Consuelo wants glitter to happen and nowhere else. As the sparkle and shine grows, there are a couple of pieces that conspicuously place a line of lace ruffle right smack in the center of the skirts, standing up almost like the dorsal fin on a fish. Brilliantly different.

Yes, there are a few nods to trends here and there. Skirts generally flow long. Over sized sleeves are part of the more minimalist designs as are elevated necklines. There’s just a touch of sheer and enough printed leather to remind one they’re still in Italy. Yet, none of these really define her overall look which is more eclectic in the nicest way possible.

Castiglioni’s flower market collection is lovely, vibrant, and full of color; it is also a very sly middle finger raised toward those who would want to enforce any kind of rules on her designs. Marni is rebellious in the most refined way possible. This is a wonderful collection that delightfully stands out from every other garden on the block. Well done!

Photo credit: Yanni Vlamos

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