The first thing that strikes you when confronted with this Marni tunic top is the fabric. Does it come this way, or are the coin-sized dots individually tacked to form the whole? Examining every stitch (and we bothered), the consistency suggests two possibilities: superb sewing machine or unparalleled textile weaving facility. The sales women in the shop were, unfortunately, of no help. Whichever way, the effect is an unusual fabric with a piece-together flexibility that allows designer Consuelo Castiglioni to create some rather arresting clothes.
We are truly fascinated by the way the circles are held together. Placed flat, it seems that the cotton/viscose felt dots are fastened to some kind of webbing when in fact they hold to each other at six equidistant points along the edges via a sort of twisted chain stitch that themselves form an octagonal frame in which a circle is suspended. There’s clearly some symmetry to it that craft folks will appreciate and calculation involving geometry that geeks will be charmed with. To us, the repetition of a single shape brings to mind a Suffolk-puff quilt, something that gave grannies of a previous age immense joy when they made them.
To be sure, there is nothing grandmotherly about this top, certainly not the colour-blocking and, through the manipulation of the placements of the dots, the asymmetric silhouette. If this were to be made of metallic plastic discs, rather than the very matte felt pieces, and if it were shaped closer to the body, would this not have been rather Paco Rabanne, circa 1966? Consuelo Castiglioni is, however, too busy with pushing her art-and-craft aesthetic to the present to look back at Sixties futurism for ideas, dotted or not.
Marni sleeveless ‘Dot Macramé’ tunic, SGD2,990, is available at Marni, Hilton Shopping Gallery and The Paragon. Cotton inner (in picture) is not part of the top. Photo: lyst.com