London Calling Antonio Marras spins a dream of London and Sardinia
Marras explained after the show that, “My dream as a child was to go to London and then I finally went and I was in heaven and I discovered Vivienne Westwood and all the current that was there and this show is the result, it’s a little jump in the past, it’s a mix between the London New Romantic/post-punk and the Sardinian culture.” The native Sardinian tells the story of fairies called Janas who sew with magical golden threads and were amazing at weaving and embroidery. One of the Janas went to London, got engaged to a sewing machine seller, and brought them back to Sardinia. One of the machines went crazy – the title of the collection is “The Crazy Sewing Machine” – and you see the results in the show.
The show was set to an amazing soundtrack courtesy of Raphael Monzini, opening with the sound of the ocean and rocking out to “London Calling,” “You Spin Me Round,” “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” “Photographic,” and other greats. The clothes were raucous fun as well, with Marras’ own twist on hybrid being a combination of the flamboyant eccentricity of the New Romantics, anarchic deconstruction of punk, and magical handicraft of the Janas, not to mention their proclivity to collect scraps like crows (evidence the hats by Tonino Serra, which were elaborately adorned with feathers, flowers, twigs, nets). The Janas also loved all kinds of fabrics, from precious, luxurious ones to poor, mistreated ones, and delighted in giving new life to forgotten clothes. All of this plays well into the whole New Romantic/post-punk aesthetic, and there was plenty of fishnet, combat boots, the combination of masculine and feminine, ripped clothes, tartan, androgyny, dandy frills and so on. The political, anti-establishment ethos and DIY spirit of punk is alive again today, when freedom of expression and authenticity are especially valued and important. Further, the gender bending of the New Romantics is taking on a wider social acceptance in our climate of gender fluidity, not to mention their interest in design, marketing and image is the basis for our whole social media self-branding obsession.
Same as the Janas man, who is “order and chaos,” there was a lot to process in the show, but it was extremely coherent and holistic, starting from the entrance through an enchanting, rustical, green courtyard, what was reminiscent of the warp yarns of a loom spanning the space, down to the makeup detail of bits of thread at the eyes, or shoes that picked up the flotsam and jetsam of an atelier. Marras is a bundle of energy who is going 180 in every direction; one gets the feeling he must be buzzing with so many ideas all the time and just throws it all out there, but there is method to the madness.