Everything To Know About Marni & Creative Director Francesco Risso

Have you recently come to love Marni for its exceptional knitwear or have you followed this cult brand for the last 20 + years? Well, whatever the latter, Marni’s incomparable approach to fashion and avant-garde designs is what we are talking about today. 

From family-run business beginnings to Francesco Risso’s widely imaginative design approach, here is everything you need to know about Marni fashion and its creative director. 



The History of Marni Fashion 

Consuelo Castiglioni was in fact born in Switzerland but launched Marni in Milan in 1994, through ties to Milanese fashion through her marriage. Initially established as a side business of Ciwifurs, the Castiglioni family’s fur business, the label split from the company in 1999, allowing the designer to develop a more fashion-forward aesthetic. 

While fur continued to be a part of Marni collections, the brand became widely known for its original prints. Resulting in collaborations with artists such as photographer Richard Prince, British pop artist Sir Peter Blake and musician Kim Gordon.

In Spring 2012, the celebrated designer entered into a creative collaboration with H&M, resulting in a sellout capsule collection. Although Marni had remained a family-owned business for over 15 years, in December 2012, Castiglioni announced the brand’s sale to OTB Group, owned by Diesel denim founder Renzo Rosso

Describing her brainchild as “a brand with a precise and recognisable identity”, Castiglioni stepped down after nearly 22 years at the helm. Bringing us to Marni’s current creative director, Francesco Risso, who joined in 2016. 

Francesco Risso 

Francesco Risso spent the first five years of his life on a sailing boat. His father a lawyer by trade was very impulsive and often came up with wild ideas which they would endeavour. Similarly, his mother had a top job at Benetton meaning she had little time for Francesco, so at the age of 16 Risso left home. 

Things you didn’t know about Francesco Risso – He plays the cello, he is an avid book collector and through the lockdown, he painted all of the curtains in his Milan apartment.  

After beginning in Florence, taking classes at Polimoda Fashion School, he went to FIT in New York where he studied garment structure. Risso then studied at Central Saint Martin’s, learning to find inspiration often through uninspirational things in life.  He then went on to be the one-time protégé of Miuccia Prada. For eight years he moulded his design process before being appointed creative director of Marni in 2016.  

Marni Fashion Collections 

Risso has become known for his clever, whimsical collections that feature bold patterns and quirky silhouettes. In a plethora of colours and shapes his pieces always embody his positive and upbeat personality. Risso brings thoughts and ideas to life through form, inspired by traditions and learnings from the past, pushing it beyond. 

Some of his iconic collections include the SS20 menswear show that highlighted the environmental crisis of plastic waste. For the show, they used over 37,000 pieces of plastic waste to create a large installation that covered the ceiling. It was a metaphor to highlight the impact plastic has on the planet. 


Furthermore, Risso’s SS22 collection celebrated the return of live shows by conducting fittings for 400 people. Not only did the models wear Marni but every single guest was dressed in upcycled cotton separates hand-painted with colourful stripes.

was about going back to the practice of what we do, which is making clothes for people, one to one.

Marni Knitwear 

The fabric everyone associates with Marni fashion is Mohair. Providing shaggy wool sweaters and cardigans, Marni’s mohair pieces have become the namesake of the brand season after season. Often in bright stripes, they are a statement investment that has been seen across a whole host of names from rappers to designers. 

Marni Collaborations

This month Marni collaborated with American workwear giants Carhartt WIP. The Marni X Carhartt WIP collection combines Marni’s bright and abstract fashion cues with the heavy-duty denim workwear structures that Carhartt are renowned for. 

Marni fashion


With sun-flower prints and colour-blocked corduroy trousers and jackets, the collection forms the perfect hybrid wardrobe for the season’s changing weather. It also showcases Marni’s standout quirkiness on what can quite often be very plain wardrobe pieces.





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2022-01-17 09:34:45By Holly Thompson

Words by Holly Thompson

Featured Image Credit @marni @asliceofbambi


Holly Thompson

Holly Thompson

Writer and expert