Marni bridged a gap between virtuality and reality with an experimental fashion film titled “Marnifesto.” The presentation — volume two of the Italian label’s Spring 2021 collection — captured different vignettes of the lives of 48 notable creatives from all over the world including actor Sasha Lane, artist Tom Glitter, and musician Yves Tumor. “Marnifesto” is a testament of creative director Francesco Risso’s ability to pivot artistically in the midst of the pandemic and social distancing guidelines.
Leading up to Milan Fashion Week, Marni introduced us to the film’s sixteen main protagonists through a series of philosophical musings on Instagram. The featured models offered anecdotes on connection, imperfection, and the concept of time. “ON SEPT. 25TH AT 3PM (CET) WE WILL GO LIVE. NOBODY KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN AND THAT’S THE POINT,” read one of the captions. Once that day arrived, the subjects livestreamed at the exact same time to see what transpired.
In “Marnifesto,” the live recordings play simultaneously — individual glimpses into the protagonists’ daily lives as they wear Marni’s latest collection. The models take us through fairly mundane activities like ordering takeout in London, commuting in Milan, and walking through the park in Detroit. New York-based model and artist Rahm Bowen offers a look at his creative workshop while getting dressed, walking around the city, and painting. These muted scenes loop continuously as glitched-out electronic music and meditative voice overs play in the background. A couple of screens also sit on standby.
Nearing the end of the film, a remix of KeiyaA’s “I Want My Things!” takes us into a singular perspective. It is during these final twenty minutes that the viewer meets the remaining protagonists and sees the clothing in a broader scope. Performer Mykki Blanco sings joyfully in a swirly, graffiti printed coat, striped beanie, and coordinating mask. Paloma Elsesser poses in New York City in a tie-dye asymmetrical hem dress as other citizens move around her. Another model makes a trip to the jeweler while wearing a swanky two-tone trench and matching heels.
Marni’s on-trend, illustrative prints accent many of the garments throughout the collection. This showcase is also the perfect marriage of precise, classic silhouettes to a deconstructed DIY spirit. It’s fitting since Risso told Vogue Runway that most of the SS21 designs were reinterpretations from the Marni archive. The skirts in this show are full and elegant, yet the denim pieces are left raw and frayed. Or take for instance, the extended tank tops that replicate a mirror image of the straps towards the hem — it’s highly likely that there will be tutorials for recreating this intricate construction in the future. Even the patterns of this collection seem personalized given their painterly approach.
“Marnifesto” concludes by showing the collection in its entirety and the protagonists as they reach their final destinations. Deem Spencer’s “There Was Plenty Time Before Us” is heard in the background as he and the other models prepare for their turn on the virtual runway. Moses Sumney performs an intimate rendition of “Quarrel” as each subject walks pensively away from or towards the camera. The singer himself appears briefly while singing in a white leather jacket with an inventive collar.
With their SS21 collection, Marni encapsulates how we can find beauty and art in the mundane. There never needs to be a special occasion to dress in our most elaborate garments. Considering the tumultuous impact of this year’s events, each day is an opportunity to live fully in one’s truth and dress imaginatively while doing so. Through its spontaneity and charm, “Marnifesto” is proof that as individuals, we are more alike than we are different.