MILAN, JANUARY 18, 2016
Antonio Marras is a talented storyteller. He would probably make a good movie director or set designer—he’s well versed in various forms of artistic expression. He roams free in the creative stratosphere, but always comes back to Sardinia, his place of birth and a constant source of regeneration. For Fall Marras’s journey took a bizarre detour to Texas—a destination that seems to be on the map for quite a few designers this season. Yet Marras’s Texas was not of the sophisticated Richard Prince–inspired variety. This was Texas in its raucous, Italianate version: that is, the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns of the ’70s that were hilarious, loud, almost cartoonish affairs—yet so believable that they inspired Quentin Tarantino several times. Marras found out that quite a few of those tacky B-movies had been filmed in a desolate village in remote, rural Sardinia.
This inspiration had the designer staging a rustic set for his show, so realistic it was replete with real bales of hay as seats for the audience. The show also featured a musical performance by a good-looking gang of young cowboys, who danced and sang with wild abandon. “I have always been drawn to the freedom of open, endless spaces; coming from an island, the insular sense of remoteness could at times be affecting,” said Marras. “I always wanted to reach out as far as possible, longing for breaking barriers and limitations, at least with my imagination, and being open to what is unknown and different.” His collection reflected this free spirit, and it crossed genders and cultures. The mise-en-scène had a cast of charming characters: Sardinian bandits in Scottish kilts; rustic nomads from the prairies in rough tweed jackets; travelers in hoods and fur, with layers of padded camouflage jackets; adventurers in heavy, oily cotton garments. Embellishments were scattered everywhere, adding to a feminine vibe that trickled down to the parade of beautiful long dresses from the women’s Pre-Fall collection. They were worn with furs for a touch of regal whimsy. The overall effect was fun, uplifting yet bordering on the bizarre. It was good entertainment though, and the collection never felt out of control.