Antonio Marras firmly believes that art and fashion go together. This isn’t the first time he’s used very creative sets inspired and/or designed by artists. For this season, a very motion-centric set inspired by the work of Carol Rama was his choice and it fit well with the rather eclectic feel of the collection. As bicycle wheels with mannequin hands turned in different directions, models walked a circuitous path between the pieces before hitting the runway. The effect was very pleasant and delightfully different, and in many ways so are the clothes.

When a designer states that his work is inspired by or based upon the work of another artist, one is never quite sure if that is a literal or figurative influence. At times, literal influences have resulted in designs that were heavy on artistic quality and low on actual practicality. However, Marras has managed to merge the two together sufficiently so that this spring/summer collection manages to be extremely wearable while maintaining its artistic aesthetic throughout the set.

Both silhouettes and prints contain a significant amount of Asian influence, with floral embroidery that is exciting and dramatic as well as kimono styling on some of the dresses that breaks up the more Western lines. At the same time, there are very full skirts with both A-line and shift silhouettes, relaxed fitting slacks, and t-shirt styled tops all tossed into the mix with surprising cohesion. While one might expect something more bizarre coming from such a unique set, that never actually happens. There’s not a look in this collection that is not wearable given the right circumstances.

In addition to the absolutely gorgeous prints, Marras works heavily with a red/white striped pattern often paired with fields of blue in some manner. These tend to occur in more Western silhouettes and even there he pulls in Asian influences in the subject and style of embroidery. The dresses would have been sufficiently dramatic just with the stripes, but the carefully placed embroidery gives them a level of luxury that is nothing short of astonishing.

Bringing together elements of Eastern and Western cultures is something we are almost certainly going to experience in greater volume as  Asian markets become a more dominant factor in the fashion industry. Antonio Marras builds beautifully upon an artistic base that recognizes that art begets art no matter which side of the planet one may inhabit. This is a delightful idea we could stand to see developed even further.

Photo credit:  Gio Staiano

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