May 17 2011
I’m increasingly of the view that the most desirable pieces of clothing are those that have not been shown on the catwalk – as is the case with Marni Summer Edition. In an unplanned shopping assault on Selfridges earlier this year, I bought a floral print dress (£460) from this collection that has proved to be the most gorgeous item of summer clothing that I’ve owned.
It’s a sleeveless, V-neck dress in cotton poplin in a simple tunic shape that skims the hips in a flattering way. But it was the bold print – a beautiful red hibiscus on a white background – that caught my eye. This is perhaps not surprising given that Consuela Castiglioni, the Marni doyenne, is known for her beguiling prints.
Marni Summer Edition, incidentally, is a capsule collection introduced in 2009. Castiglioni apparently wanted to create “personal wardrobe of those favourite items that make you feel at ease, and get better with each wash”. That’s certainly the case with my dress, which already feels like an old friend.
The problem with prints, of course, is that many people end up wearing the same highly identifiable design – as is currently the case with Prada’s bananas. But that’s not the case with my dress. The Selfridges assistant assured me that they only buy one in each size and I was in the store in time to snaffle the size 12.
So much do I love it that I swiftly trawled the web to see if the same design was available in other colourways. I discovered that the tunic dress, which is bang on trend for this season, is available in several other prints. They include a yellow/brown/white geometric pattern (£460) from Marni; a black and white polka-dot version in silk from Thecorner.com (first picture); and a yellow and white houndstooth print (second picture). Meanwhile, a fluorescent polka-dot version (£520) is currently hanging on the rails in Selfridges (though not, I imagine, for long).
I started wearing my dress (long since sold out) in the shivery days of March with a scarlet cashmere cardigan, opaques and red chunky-heeled Prada shoes; for summer, the dress and a pair of flat sandals is enough.