It's highly unlikely that the name of "Helen Schjerfbeck, the early twentieth-century Finnish portrait artist" will ever again be invoked as a fashion influence. But that was only one of the unlikely features of Consuelo Castiglioni's latest men's collection for Marni. Details like the semi-trapeze volume of the shirts, the deeply pleated swing back on the jackets, and the three-quarter sleeve on a coat suggestedto these eyes at leastwomen's haute couture. And Consuelo was buying the idea, though her preferred terminology was "elegant volume." Still, it wasn't exactly elegance that came to mind when the elasticized waistbands of underwear began to appear. They had shirts tucked into them! And they were worn under shorts with a curiously generous seat.
That's not the first time a disconcerting boarding-school boy chord has been struck in a Marni show, but it highlights a frustration with this collection. While the women's range forges on into spectacular new territory, with the show as an opportunity to present what amounts to a manifesto, the men's is so subtle (and consummately wearable when it hits the shop floor) that it just lies there on the catwalkunless it's given an incongruous little stylist's twist. That said, you could take away proposals such as the "new" suit (matching car coat and pants) and some very appealing accessories.