Dec 18, 2012 10:53AM

Miami Diary: Marni Exhibition at Art Basel

Trying not to faint in front of Consuelo Castiglioni.
Consuelo Castiglioni

During Art Basel, Marni had the US unveiling of their exhibition 'L'Arte del Ritratto', a joint venture between artist Francesco Jodice and The Marni Charity Project. The exhibition consists of a new collection of 125 original chairs, hand-woven by Columbian ex-prisoners trying to reintegrate themselves back into society. Marni then modified these chairs in shape, color, and pattern to reflect the label's aesthetic.

Francesco's work consists of framed portraits of various Marni employees placed throughout the boutique as well as a video that documents the shooting experience. The photos that depict smiling employees are reminiscent of family photos you'd expect to see in a living room, reinforcing the familial vibe the Castiglioni family cultivated since Marni's inception in 1994.

When I met Consuelo Castiglioni, the head designer of the family-run company (see below), she spoke with great enthusiasm about the project with particular emphasis on helping the Columbian ex-prisoners — and I nearly fainted as she's been my hero ever since I knew what fashion was. I was most struck by her genuine warmth and kindness — not a moment passed the entire night when she wasn't both smiling and happily engaged in every conversation she was having.

 
Gillian Sagansky