Legendary Italian brand Marni is famous for chunky beaded necklaces that hang on the chest like repurposed schoolroom abacuses and dizzyingly mismatched prints that look as if they were finger painted by adults. So when creative director Consuelo Castiglioni happened upon Dutch artist Rop van Mierlo’s children’s book Wild Animals, she knew having his beautiful watercolor animal illustrations festoon the spring capsule collection would give Marni fanatics just one more way to indulge their impish impulses. For his part, van Mierlo was more than happy to emblazon a line of plain white T-shirts for the collection. “I never intended to become a children’s book author—it just sort of happened,” he says. “I was thinking for quite some time that my work would do great on clothes, and I only wanted to do it with a quality label. And then Marni called.” Van Mierlo has always felt that his work isn’t just for kids, or, at the very least, that Wild Animals is a children’s book that can only be fully appreciated once you’ve reached a certain level of maturity. “My work has a certain sensitivity and humor that appeals even more to the child in a grown-up,” he says. Castiglioni also loves the idea of blurring the age divide and, as she puts it, van Mierlo’s animals “convey the innocent part of the collection.” In addition to lion and donkey prints, there’s also smudgy red, blue and yellow parrots and a wonderfully messy grey blob of an ostrich that van Mierlo conjured exclusively for the collaboration. He says the feral beast plays into his interest in undomesticated energy, human or otherwise—“I’m fascinated by the idea of creating animals I couldn’t control.” The ostrich also happens to be one of Castiglioni’s favorites, a feather in the cap of yet another wild collection.
Styling by Deidre Dyer. Model Mateus at Re:Quest Models.