Creating a quirky and artistic display during Milan’s famed Salone del Mobile interiors fair has become a tradition for Marni, even though it is a fashion and not a furniture house. Designer Consuelo Castiglioni’s interest in contemporary architecture and interiors is well known and although fashion remains her main medium, it is obvious in the graphic shapes of many of her shoe and jewellery designs and in prints that could easily be wallpaper motifs.
This year she has given her Salone del Mobile installation an original and desirable dose of fashion reality. She has long loved and been inspired by the culture of Colombia and has turned the big display space of her Milan showroom into the Marni Ballhaus, where, from April 14 to 16, the public can watch performances of, and learn how to do, the cumbia – the traditional Colombian dance form for couples that reflects the country’s diverse cultural mix. They can also buy a selection of brightly coloured Marni-designed home accessories and small items of furniture, made by a Colombian women’s group from metal, wood and handwoven PVC cord – prices start from €220, with a portion of sales going to the Vimala Association, which supports projects for underprivileged children. The items are only available at the Ballhaus.
For those not in Milan, Castiglioni has had another brainwave. She has reimagined the traditional long, full skirts worn for the cumbia in a wonderful selection of iconic Marni mixed prints – there are around 30 designs in surprising colourways, some loud and exuberant, some delicate and subtle, with prints split vertically or horizontally, or with a big dual-printed ruffle hem. All have a drawstring tie in a signature small floral print, and all retail for £210, with a portion going to the same charity. Only a few of each design are being made; they are available to order online for three weeks from Thursday April 14 and will be delivered in two weeks. It’s the perfect, carefree summer skirt with virtually no chance of seeing it duplicated.