February 07, 2010 London
The Marni woman's innate eccentricity found expression in Consuelo Castiglioni's pre-fall collection, less in an extravagant jumble of color and print than in the repurposing of strictly utilitarian items like the nylon rain cape the Brits call a pac-a-mac, or the quilted jacket known as a husky in the English countryside. Husky quilting in its distinctive green metamorphosed into a cutaway jacket, high-waisted shorts, a skimpy little all-in-one, and a long dress that could pass for eveningwear à la Marni, worn with a quilted belt that looked like a tiny skating skirt. The pac-a-mac was flipped to form a handkerchief-hemmed skirt and paired with a gold lamé top, another exercise in glamorous utility (or utilitarian glamour). The collection added new meaning to the notion of separates by offering pop-on hoods and capes and elbow-length leather-and-quilting armlets (there were matching boots) to build an outfit, with shearling mitts, like yeti paws, as a finishing touch. The ingenuity and toughness of these pieces made up for more whimsical items, like the frilled pajama pants in a flesh-toned crepe, in the same way that the exploded houndstooth was a much stronger pattern than the bleeding polka dot. In fact, this was one Marni collection where the hard edges had all the charm—and it was all the better for it.
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