Francesco Risso has been the creative director of Marni since 2016 after taking over from Marni’s founder, Consuelo Castiglioni, who started the label in 1994. Many saw his appointment at Marni as a terrible mistake, as they thought bringing in an outsider from Prada would disrupt one of fashion’s best-loved family businesses.
So far he has blended in effortlessly with the playfulness at Marni, and has managed to uphold Marni’s reputation for explosive colourful prints also adding his own interesting aesthetic, inspired by everything from cartoons (like Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland), to 18th-century tartan hunting jackets. Risso’s frisky aesthetic spills over to his runway shows as well. Lining an underground parking lot with large green and black exercise balls for example, Risso has shown that fashion is all about new and unhindered ideas.
Risso’s arrival at Marni was perfect timing as menswear's wild-style era has just begun. Risso’s brand of maximalism pushes to convey a certain feeling of wonder and childishness his colours evoke. In an industry that takes itself too serious at times, and is usually viewed mainly in black and white, Marni comes in as a breath of fresh air, or an exploded box of jumbo sized crayons.
As much as he dabbles in the childlike, he has through his work shown that he doesn't want to be pigeonholed as just a playful designer. For Marni’s Spring 2019 collection, he was inspired by the thought of what Olympians in the '20s and '30s wore on Mount Olympus.
It seems like a good time for Italian fashion at the moment, with recent new appointments and houses reestablishing themselves. There is a great new energy in what they are offering creatively, and Francesco Risso seems to be at the forefront of this renaissance.