As Benedetta Barzini walked slowly, smiling down the runway at the Antonio Marras show, three words came to mind: beauty, elegance, serenity. And, oh yes, at 71, this season’s muse was 40 years older than most people in the room.
Since the show space was a garage, where oily walls and concrete flooring had been covered with rococo paintings and Persian rugs, the message seemed to be: older can be more beautiful.
Perhaps a more appropriate word would be ‘timeless’. Marras works from his studio/shop surrounded by many houseplants, and he could not be further from the hard edge of Milan style.
Benedetta is known to the fashion crowd as Diana Vreeland’s discovery of the Sixties, and photographer Irving Penn’s favourite model and cover girl, whether for American or Italian Vogue.
She also has a more cerebral side as a feminist activist and teacher.
That history seemed to inspire Marras to produce one of his more ‘practical’ collections — if that is the word for big patterned sweaters worn with pants and graphic patterns on silk tops. Or for reducing, slightly, the romantic touches, so that a lace coat was neatly tailored and sweet as candy with its pale pink tapestry.
Out of all these colourful pieces, presented with a play on volume, nothing could quite match the patterned, embellished coat in which Benedetta took her bow.