If we were to imagine the Three Graces of abstract/conceptual design, cult leaders in thought and style, there’d be no doubt about Rei Kawakubo and Miuccia Prada being the first two, and Consuelo Castiglioni would surely be the third. What they all have in common is they are women of few words who have never allowed the noise of “fashion” to impinge on what they feel like doing. Their oblivious creative detachment allows new things to develop, usually first thought quirky, weird, and “artsy” (meaning definitely not man-attracting sexy ), but they all carry a worshipping sisterhood of mainstream refusers with them. Castiglioni’s Marni spoke directly to them today with a serene expression of the fusion of architectural planes and decorative techniques only she can pull off, though many try.

Those who know how to read Marni collections, from the experience of encountering them in a store, know it’s not head-to-toe prescriptive: You get in and you play and you integrate. That’s what the opening white-to-beige-to-buttermilk section looked like—a modular composition of tops, skirts, coats, and pants, variously wrapped and tied with threaded-through nautical rope. The hip-widening poacher-pocket bags (a classic man-scarer) were optional strap ons.

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