Between Heritage and Storytelling: “Lights, Camera, Action!” recreates Elizabeth Taylor’s BOOM! on the runway
That a fashion collection is one of Antonio Marras‘s creations is often understood even before grasping its entirety, and even before interpreting the storytelling that goes with it.
The “Marrasian” imprint, after all, is so artisanally concrete and experimental as to make Marras one of the most identifiable designers within the Italian fashion playground. For the upcoming Spring / Summer 2024 season, however, Storytelling becomes superfluous: it acts as a frame that amplifies the meaning of a collection that, upon closer inspection, was already winning and enough in itself.
The theatrical interpretation put into place by the glamourous and talented Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson aimed to faithfully recreate the dramatic mood and glamour of a stellar cast’s arrival – the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton – to Alghero, Sardinia, in 1967, for the shooting of Losey’s film Boom! – and the events that occurred on that occasion, such as the gossip turmoil and attempted kidnappings that marked the production.
Although noteworthy, the cinematic montage on the runway – which harkens back to Sergio Naitza’s docu-film named A Summer with Joe, Liz and Richard – was not strictly necessary other than to divert attention from the real masterpieces of the scene: the clothes.
Beginning with that formal tailoring, which came slightly oversized and empowering, developed in comfortable double-breasted jackets and trench coats; but also tapered, fitted and flattering in the mid-century silhouette of the twin sets.
Vintage military-inspired jackets perfectly blended with the effortless and polite elegance of the collar bow; romantic flowers were pinned or embroidered on a jacket chest, downplaying the severity of a fake pinstripe. A wide use of corsetry and hosiery, instead, paid homage to the group to which the Sardinian brand now belongs (Calzedonia).
There was no shortage of the tactile-material experiments that characterize Marras’s work: he played with old lace by masterfully draping it on the body, as well as with sheer, crisp tulle – which left nothing to the imagination – covered in black flowers. Also strong is the symbolism in the Sardinian cliffs – illustrations from the original Losey film – and the clouds printed on tulle from which fringes of beads were “raining” down. Hand-painted summer coats revealed the artisanal and artistic imprint of the brands, and so did the patchworks, made of different fabrics: for example, the iconic glen plaid was broken down and reassembled into the corset lines embedded on a jacket; intarsia knits worn on the reserve side, the delicate flowers carved or embroidered on sheer organza caftans; while the sparkle of sequins, brocades and silk satin on evening minidresses were alluding to the Hollywood dream, and to Marras’s love for the great cinema of all time.
“I thought that there had to be a diva“, the designer wrote in the press release, “a real diva, with a capital D, who is not invented or improvised. A diva who could well interpret a Hollywood Babylon-like world where anything is possible, where a wish is an order, where the unimaginable becomes everyday.“
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