ANTONIO MARRAS AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR MILAN FASHION WEEK
“She’s my friend, and a collection is the most precious thing I have to give her.” That was Antonio Marras’ heartfelt rationale for the show he dedicated to Italian style icon Benedetta Barzini. She posed for Avedon and Penn, hung out at Warhol’s Factory, befriended Salvador Dalí. She was always in fashion, but never in fashion, and now, in her 70s, Barzini wears her years fearlessly on her face. In other words, she was made to be a Marras muse.
The air in the venue was thick with tuberose; the clothes were scarcely less heady—this was a typical Marras synthesis of history, fantasy, and craftsmanship. There were aristocratic details—tapestry prints, embossed roses, bullion-embroidered fur, inspirations from Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon—because, Marras wrote in his love letter to Barzini, “You are a Queen.” But the lexicon of vintage dressing that he has made his own was also present in the lace, the jet embroidery, dévoré-ed velvets, silk fringing, cloque, and a palette of dusty pink, pale blue, and maroon. There was something intoxicating about it all, but it was the numbing intoxication of an opium dream.
Perhaps that was why Marras compared Barzini to the Marquise de Merteuil, the manipulative seducer from Dangerous Liaisons. Except, said the designer, “Benedetta won.” Left to mull over that cryptic statement, we fell gratefully upon the knitwear, literal light relief. And then the electric charge of Siouxsie’s “Hong Kong Garden” blasted through the shadows as Benedetta herself walked out onto the catwalk, everything Marras had said, and more.