Francesco Risso was fascinated by aesthetic appeal and deeper meaning of The Terror, serving as the fuel behind the Marni Pre-Fall colletion.

May 29, 2019


While prepping for the Marni Pre-Fall 2019 collection, Francesco Risso was inspired by The Terror, a series about an 1845 Royal Navy expedition to the Arctic Archipelago gone horrifically awry.

“Obviously I was drawn to the elegant formality of the uniforms the officers and soldiers were wearing, dark and cut with austere aplomb,” he explained. “Yet the more the story progressed, the crew being irredeemably trapped in the ice with no way out, the more they became disheveled and disarrayed. This tragedy felt somehow like a signifier for finding release from an oppressive culture.” He continued: “The soldiers were also forced by the extreme circumstances to get acquainted with indigenous Inuit tribes. They were so transformed and tainted by their mysterious shamanic culture as to almost dissolve and melt into their hallucinatory white glacial landscape.”

he pull between formality and psychedelia and the reconfiguring of a new order from apparently haphazard, chaotic pieces are familiar narratives for this designer, but he pushed things this season, calling his approach “pragmatism gone ballistic.”

The utilitarian elegance of uniforms served as the collection’s canvas: Classic, almost strict masculine shapes and compact proportions were translated into elongated dusters, sleek car coats, and double-breasted peacoats in thick, consistent fabrics like felted and pressed bouclé, glossy bonded leather, padded satin, shearlings, and ponyskins. The recurring use of natural materials was also a nod to the no-waste, responsible approach Risso is keen to promote going forward.

The crashing of references progressed inexorably to a decorative climax: psychedelic brocades and Lurex jacquards; hand-painted shearlings reminiscent of Oceanic and African Art; a bit of ’60s Japonisme; and Inuit-inspired prints were mixed together in a lively mix of opera coats, military shirts, tiered shift dresses and skirts with half-plissé side panels.

“I’m designing pieces with a special personality and character, quite unique and extraordinary. They’re meant to last,” Risso mused. “This is my contribution to a mindful, intelligent way of approaching the design process. It’s also a positive, joyful attitude I’d like to convey. We live in such terrible political times, so narrow-minded and oppressive on every level, we need to take a stand and act, finding new solutions and motivating different behaviors, being pragmatic but also imaginative. Crucial, significant issues can be reclaimed with creativity, positivity, and fun.”


Receive direct access to exclusive interactive online shopping, latest designer collections, celebrity features and collaborations, and daily fashion news.