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Antonio Marras

Antonio Marras was unable to make it to New York to present his latest collection, so he sent his wife, Patrizia, instead. There was a certain poetry to that—one Marras muse presenting another. Or, others. The designer’s inspirations are always myriad, a cultural mishmash the exuberance of which rivals only the clothes themselves. For Pre-Fall he looked to Russia and found Irene Galitzine (the aristocratic designer and Jackie O favorite credited with inventing the palazzo pant), poet Anna Akhmatova, and Anna Karenina. All colorful figures, but none so literally as Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, the czar-sponsored pioneer of color photography who documented Russian life with his luridly hued pictures.

From those starting points, Marras spun a lush collection in folkloric florals, shimmering fil coupe, and textural damasks. There were empire-waisted maxi dresses that would make Biba’s Barbara Hulanicki proud, but also quieter pieces, like a terrific 3-D-knit sweater or a swingy camel-and-black-striped jacket. Designers as fiercely idiosyncratic as Marras are few; his clothes disregard time, trend, and, to a certain degree, commercial viability. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine who the Marras woman is amid the sea of print and color. The upside to all that glorious profusion, though? As Patrizia tells it, “You can find what you want!”

—Kristin Anderson,

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