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October 5, 2003-Consuelo Castiglioni consolidated Marni's place in the world of fashion by designing irresistibly optimistic, exuberantly girly, shabbily chic clothes. However, this season Marni's vibrant, youthful, female essence was lost in a sea of excessively architectural constructions. Ms. Castiglioni's curved cutting and piecing of the fabrics was so overwhelming that neither her brilliant vintage-style prints nor her deliciously colorful fabrics in cotton candy pink, lemon-drop yellow and lollypop raspberry sufficed to redeem her Spring 2004 collection. Admittedly Marni is all about irreverently juxtaposing different styles and materials to achieve an effortless, off-handed look, but this season Castiglioni obscured the fine line between effortless and careless.

A lime green V-neck silky shirt with top stitched inset cap sleeves worn underneath a ruby red strapless blouse gathered underneath the bust, matched with a pair of loose, wide, maxi length khaki pants tied around the waist created a sense of stylistic chaos. Another ensemble consisting of a floral pink midi length jacket with leg-of-mutton sleeves, wide frilled collar and oversized half circle shaped pockets worn over a teal, yellow and navy blue cotton dress-knee length flared asymmetrical skirt, unfitted bodice-simply did not flatter the feminine silhouette.

I have infinite respect for Marni's bid to create a 50's vintage look with an urban flare. Fashion maestro Christian Lacroix once wrote, "20th Century fashion presents us with a fresco that is all the more fascinating because it provides inspiration for the new fin-de-siècle-our own." However, I am convinced that while trying to create an intriguingly retro yet progressively contemporary look, Ms. Castiglioni lost sight of the need to conceive ultimately wearable beautiful garments, which up until now has been her forte.

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