Amongst the pastel blue pillars and red logos of the carpark on Via Pantano, editors and buyers were scrambling to find their seat. Unorthodox seating is a Marni show signature and here, to the sound of squeaking trainers and the clacking of ping pong balls, people were fumbling around to find their green and black gym balls. It was endearingly comical and a window into what was to come.
'Being here in this garage is almost like being constrained in a space where you can see a surrealist gym, where all these surrealist matches are happening. Any kind of sport, from cricket to golf, to swimming, to soccer,' says Francesco Risso backstage. Amidst the gyrating hips of onlookers trying to steady their seat, Risso was exploring all aspects of the great games; the vulnerability of the player, the joy, the 'athletic body', the rules and sometimes lack thereof.
Brilliantly, this collection challenged the typical jock bod with a rousing celebration of all shapes and sizes. 'All are admitted to thy game: the thin and the chubby, the tall and the short... anyone who loves and knows thy body,' read the notes. Sleeves and hems were rolled and shrugged eluding to fleshy rolls, whilst oversized wide leg trouser - much like a tracksuit pant - will suit all. Drawstrings gave each look a spontaneous movement as they eased around the body.
Basketball shoes with thick baby blue laces, Dennis the Menace-like stripes and pulled-up graphic socks nodded to nostalgic sports aesthetics. So too did the tucking of the tee into high-waisted trouser. Repurposed sleeping bags made the most wonderful jackets, each with a zip up the middle and back, dividing colour from sixties print. They were perfect for the player changing teams in a pinch. Risso’s overall use of artist Betsey Podlach and photographer Florian Hetz's works - both of which capture the body and form - gave a twist to the basic baseball shirt and skate pant. You saw this best when both were layered together in one look.
There was an element of fantasy here too. 'I was thinking about [Italo] Calvino and how he runs away with imagination but at the same time he is so able to control,' added Risso. 'To me, it is almost like putting on a dream filter, and seeing these imperfect outfits.' There certainly was something a little imperfect at play - a push and pull of ideas and sports, a tug and tuck of garment - and Risso's magic at Marni is a celebration of just that. As models walked as a tour de force for the finale, the fantasy unfolded. Risso's 'imperfect' was undoubtedly pure perfection.