“Upbeat,” “joyful,” and “artsy” come to mind when describing Marni, the Italian label that has been designed by Consuelo Castiglioni since it was launched in 1994. Marni stemmed from Castiglioni’s husband’s family fur business and is still very much a family company, with husband Gianni running the brand as CEO and daughter Carolina operating the online store. The line is known for quirky, feminine combinations of bright colors, bold graphic patterns, elaborate fantasy prints, and natural textures, including many furs. The result is an offbeat, funky aesthetic that remains elegant and wearable. It’s a look that can be carried off by a broad age spectrum of women. If art teachers were chic and rich, they’d probably wear Marni.
The fashion line started in 1994, when Castiglioni became known for her contributions to the design of fur, stemming from her husband’s family fur business. At that moment, fur was at its most unpopular and typically designed in an old-fashioned manner, but Castiglioni instead treated it as a normal fabric to make modern, wearable clothing. Her fashion line, which is named after her sister Marni, grew as her customers needed something to wear under or with their fur.
Today, the company produces a full array of ready-to-wear clothing, handbags, jewelry, and eye wear. Marni has recently changed from “a well-kept secret among like-minded aesthetes to a label followed for its own sake.” Je nna Lyons, senior vice president of women’s design for J.Crew, attributes Marni’s rise to the “post-Tom Ford era,” saying that women are lately being bold through color,print, and shape rather than through overt sex appeal and are dressing more for other women than for men.
For Fall 2007, Marni produced its first line of men’s clothing and caused a minor splash by including leggings as standalone bottoms for men.