The fashion world has a soft spot in its heart for Antonio Marras. His thoroughly unique and poetic approach to design — be it clothing, painting or even show invitations — always makes his work worth investigating.
But sometimes he can become a victim of his own fertile mind. Overly complex mood board-like invitations that make it almost impossible to find the location, let alone one’s seat assignment, can be exasperating at times. Ditto the shows themselves that have the unfortunate tendency to linger on longer then they should, thus diluting their romantic power.
Both of these issues came up at his fall/winter 2015 show on Monday, where the designer produced an ode to the urban energy of New York City. Marras went as far as to have a yellow cab driven onto the catwalk, its passenger a mohawked Robert De Niro circa Taxi Driver look-alike.
That unhinged character was Marras’s muse for the show. According to the designer, he wanted to “turn that tale into menswear”. He did so most evidently through the use of camouflage. But in the hands of this designer camouflage becomes a patchwork of assorted fabrics, sometimes embellished with lace or beaded, thus undercutting the potent military material with dandy flourishes.
Marras is a big believer in the power of finding a way to bring contrasting elements — be they shapes, patterns or fabrics — together in a way that makes each part an aspect of a more complex sartorial conversation. And once again he was very successful in that pursuit.
However, he needs to have more faith in his own abilities to get his message across. Just like a vintage malt whisky, Marras’s sartorial melanges shouldn’t be watered down. Sometimes less really is more.