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In Focus: Marni

In Focus: Marni

“The future came and went, leaving us alone, but together in the dark, but lighter than before,” Franesco Risso wrote in his Marni autumn/winter 22 show notes. “Where do we go after? Where are we bound, beyond what binds us to each other?” Entitled Wearafter, the poetically anarchic show can be read as a sartorial manifesto of courage, time and feelings, condensed in objects of affection that are kept, cherished, mended. Exploring an endless mingling of old and new, this collection added to Risso’s patchwork quilt of the personal and the shared, the found and the cherished. All living under one roof – the Marni roof – the Wearafter collection serves as a reminder that we can share the same wardrobe but wear it our own way. How will you wear yours?

From the moment Francesco Risso replaced Consuelo Castiglioni at the helm of the off-kilter luxury label that she built, the Sardinia-born, CSM-educated, Miuccia Prada-trained creative director’s Marni identity has been playful, youthful, unexpected, thought provoking and fun! Today, it’s as much a community, a creative commune even, as it is a brand. Shortly after the show, we were able to peek further inside the Cosmos of Marni with the 23rd issue of A MAGAZINE curated by. Conceived collaboratively with editor Dan Thawley, as a compilation of scrapbooks, A MAGAZINE Curated By Francesco Risso collaged twenty conceptual commissions that celebrated the lo-fi craftsmanship of Marni's imaginative community of contributors. From pen-and-ink drawings to film photography, tiny doodles to blown-up watercolours, cut-out interactive games to trompe l’œil tape, the issue documents Francesco Risso’s boundless imagination and appetite to expand his Marniverse, with a playful yet profound view of materiality, nature and the human spirit.

Eager to continue this sense of celebrating individuality with a child-like yearning to explore, LN-CC enlisted artist, photographer, lecturer, self-publisher Stephanie Francis-Shanahan to add to the patchwork quilt of Marni-inspired daydreams.

In Focus: Marni

Firstly, we know you as a multi-disciplinary artist but how do you like to introduce/position yourself? Essentially, can you tell us who Stephanie Francis Shanahan is, what you do and why you do it?
So I’m an artist, photographer, lecturer, self-publisher born in London with Irish heritage is my usual line of description and this is probably the easiest way to describe it all without my ADHD taking over. I make things, meet people, document moments to remind myself of the good in the world and to build my own trust in the people I come across. It’s totally a cathartic exercise and explores a lot of different therapeutic concepts in how I make the work.

What would you say is the strongest truth about your practice?
I’d say the strongest truth throughout my work and myself is that I’m fascinated at the fact we are all alive at the same moment in time. I am completely overwhelmed and in awe everyday at the moments of serendipity and chance that come into play. I’d say the absolute truth is that the reason I seek and hero these moments is that I don’t necessarily feel like joy comes to me that naturally. It is something I’ve sought out because I know it exists and I want to feel more of it.

In Focus: Marni

We instantly thought of you when we were thinking about Marni collaborators because both of your practices celebrate collective joy. For us, both yourself and Francesco Risso develop projects centred around community, craft and fun. Firstly, can you see the similarities?
I still love it so much that people connect me to ideas of joy and others who exude it! Even spending like 30 seconds on their insta I can feel an affinity in the desire to centre the handmade, capture the mini-moments in a day that you can have a bit more fun with and how important language and placing love at core of language are. To be honest though, I kind of feel like I'm in my own little world when it comes to fashion stuff so I kind of only see most fashion content when friends show me it or it’s mentioned like it is now. I spend most of my time watching disneyland vlogs, football content or old festival sets on Youtube but it’s a pleasure to be mentioned in relation to Francesco Risso ! :)

In this collaboration that places your personality and talent alongside Marni’s, you declare that the brand “melts your heart.” Could you expand on this?
Language and the expression of emotion is crucial to my work and my life and I wanted to express this in this collaboration. I struggled a lot when I was younger to express my feelings and to feel heard and so I make an active effort now as an adult to release these emotions, often via my work. I think critique and the ability to discuss are vitally important to progressive societies but I also think we must make room to genuinely celebrate and exclaim our affection for stuff. I’m always super vocal about what I enjoy and like and often in my lecturing work, try to help young people find the things which bring them joy.

In Focus: Marni

How does Marni make you feel?
When I think of Marni the first word that comes to mind is cosy. That can sound a bit granny-like but I mean it more in the sense that if you are warm and supported, then it allows you to have that freedom and space to express your feelings.

What was the starting point for this collaboration, and can you talk us through your process?
The phrase ‘marni melts my heart’ came to mind as soon as I got the deck and I knew I wanted to centre it around love. As I was shooting it on myself, I guess there was this element of self love and this is something that now feels quite worn out but I guess my entire practice is an exercise in finding this love for myself and helping others find it for themselves too. This is echoed in the face paint that reads Grá, which is Irish for love. I often use the Irish language (Gaeilge) in my work as a way to weave in my heritage and I find the phrasing and phonetics to be so beautiful. Lily, my friend who is fab, helped me with the self-shooting as I’ve shot myself in the past with no help and it’s a bit of a nightmare. I’m learning more and more to ask for help and support. Ironically, as a collective joy person, I tend to work in quite a solo way. It was 1000x more fun having Lily help me so thank u Lily ! Also, Dolly, one of my best friends, was in our studio when I was styling the looks together and that was super fun to have her there too-thank ya Dolly :))))

In Focus: Marni

Beyond product, what do you hope viewers take away from this commission?
I’d say it’s that one day you might feel like the world is collapsing in but that it does always turn around and there is so much joy and love waiting there for you when you come back around if you are able to let it in <3

What’s next? Is there anything you’re working on or soon-to-release that you’d like to promote here?
My brain is currently running at ADHD full-speed atm! I’m launching a book at Donlon Books with another pal Clem Macleod who runs Worms Magazine and launching the same book. Kind is Cool, in Manchester at Village during Bound Art Book fair weekend (28th-30th October)! I am completely obsessed with books, collaging and taking photos so this is a pretty dreamy trio for the rest of my October :)

Visuals Stephanie Francis Shanahan, @tobycarveryprincessxoxo

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