If fashion is like walking a tightrope between the ridiculous and the sublime, Marni's progression is more precarious than most. There's always the risk that in the trademark Marni clash of texture, colour and print, something is going to throw the whole thing off balance and send you crashing down. I'll leave you to guess on which side. For Autumn/Winter 2010, however, Consuelo Castiglioni played it safe, as with so many others in Milan. Rather than that clash-cum-crash of jarring elements like a sartorial pile-up on the models, she toyed with elements in isolation. A black sleeveless cocoon coat juxtaposed fur with neoprene, for example, or a green-black sweater tufted like astroturf contrasted again the flat silk-crepe of mustard slacks. As ever, the Marni eye for prints was well in play - this season, swirling art-deco or pop-art designs decorated neat coats, tunics and cropped short trousers. But instead of mixing these up, each outfit stamped a print head-to-toe bar knee-high support hose and crazy granny platform shoes. Admittedly, there were a few Pyjama Gang moments, and a couple of prints that seemed sliced from public transport upholstery, but generally they looked crisp, fresh and desirable. The Marni wobble this season came with a little too much heft around the hip - stiff peplums cut from matching fabrics and attached pannier-like at the waist, to chunk out the hips to an angular line. 'Chunk' and 'hips' should never be used in the same sentence: we can conclude they should also not be used in the same styling gimmick. Castiglioni's surest hand, as ever, was with colour - this season, she blocked them bold and solid, thus a putty sweater had maroon arms, contrasted against the vibrant aquamarine of a solid A-line skirt, dirty-yellow wool culottes jarred against a rich claret astrakhan coat and grey sweater, or a stunning flesh-pink jersey was worn with tan leather trousers and a shocking, tomato-red duster jacket. Castiglioni liked that one so much, she turned it out twice.
There's always the risk that in the trademark Marni clash of texture, colour and print, something is going to throw the whole thing off.