Marni's S/S 21 collection Marnifesto was about many things. Most notably, it was a showcase of an experimental approach towards a new kind of fashion presentation - filmed across four continents by the lovers and families of the models themselves. The clothes were colourful and bright. They were also made with love in the same way the presentation was thanks to a Francesco Risso and Babak Radboy collaboration that set the fashion world on fire. The collection was full of elegant splashes of block colour and explosive lively prints (but let's be honest, when has Marni ever not been colourful?)
The show took centre stage during the S/S 21 season and was the burst of life that fashion desperately craved after months of turbulence and fashion films with little spark. SHOWstudio wrote at the time that 'when Marni live-streamed an event last month, they presented one of the most arresting alternatives to the fashion show so far', noting that the Italian house made an effort to '(rethink) every component of the show, from the model and the walk to the venue'.
The clothes were also mesmerising. So mesmerising that four selected pieces - looks 10, 28, 37 and 46 - comprising of upcycled leather coats from the Marni archives - (each featuring delicately hand-painted words and drawings inspired by members of the Marni community including Mykki Blanco and Jonah Hill) - will be auctioned at Christie's throughout June 2021. Having opened on 9 June, the bidding started at £100 and will run through until 23 June as part of Christie's Jewels & Handbags Online: The London Edit .
Marni's creative director Francesco Risso commented on the beauty of the Marnifesto collection saying:
'These one-off pieces reverberate the emotions among the Marni community during the Covid-19 pandemic, and they are the result of a collective effort in a time of uncertainty and hope. We gave a new interpretation to the beautiful garments we found in our archives by hand-painting the words and drawings collected throughout the lockdown. Because these pieces transcend time and go beyond fashion, we are extremely proud to present them through Christie's, hoping they will resonate further and ultimately enter the life of those who are willing to treasure them.'
After one hell of a strange year, where relationships of all kinds have been estranged for too many reasons to list here, Marni choosing to open up a dialogue between all talents who have collaborated with the brand over the years (yes, that includes Jonah Hill, Camilla Nickerson and Jess Maybury among others) was a timely one, and something that speaks just as loudly now as it did then. The Marnifesto collection was conceived as a celebration of human connections, love, freedom and self-expression; tropes that still seem very much void in a post COVID-19 world.
Rachel Koffsky, Christie's international senior specialist of handbags & accessories, made a statement on the resonance of Marnifesto, reflecting on the intimate craftsmanship used to heal the community. She said in a statement:
'We are delighted to partner with Marni to offer four one-of-a-kind, wearable works of art from the 2021 Spring-Summer Marnifesto Collection. Mahand-paintede pandemic, hand painted in the Marni atelier in Italy, each unique piece represents a Love Letter from Marni collaborators to Francesco Risso, the fashion community and the world at large. One year later, this collection could not be more resonant. The eclectic, hand-painted nature of the collection represents the do-it-yourself sensibility which came to the fore at the beginning of the pandemic. While some of us baked sourdough, or learned to knit, the Marni atelier used their craft to make sense of this uncertain time, and to heal the community. Reflecting this, Marni has dedicated a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Alliance of Artists Communities. At this time, we need art more than ever, and to support artists and artist communities in need.'
If you feel you need to experience colour, art and the outside world, we can't think of a better collection to see up close than these select pieces from Marnifesto; a true celebration of talent, love and an ode to the art of working together, in a time when everyone feels apart.