Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Diane von Furstenberg, DKNY, Band of Outsiders — and now Marni is the latest fashion house whose founding designer is out.
Consuelo Castiglioni announced Friday that she is leaving the Italian brand she founded with her husband Gianni in 1994. The stellar spring 2017 collection she showed in Milan last month was her last, and a replacement has already been named: Francesco Risso joins from Prada where he's been since 2008 working on "women’s show collections and special brand endorsement projects," according to a release provide by Marni, which also notes that Castiglioni's departure was a "personal decision."
"These were hectic and exciting years, which absorbed all of my energies to create a project I am proud of," Castiglioni said in a statement. "Thanks also to the constant support of my family, who allowed me to stay true to my idea, I built a brand with a precise and recognizable identity. The time has now come to dedicate myself to my private life. I thank all the people who believed in this project and who, with loyal dedication, have helped me along this fantastic journey."
The brand confirmed that the rest of the Castiglioni family will leave the company as well, including Consuelo's husband Gianni, who acted as President of the company, as well as her daughter Carolina and son Giovanni who worked in communications and operations, respectively. (The New York Times was first to report this tidbit.)
Castiglioni built her brand with a very strong, consistent vision and aesthetic that women everywhere bought into each season with cult-like dedication. At no other show in Milan will you find as many guests wearing the clothes of the brand they're about to see. She's a woman who designed clothes women wanted to wear and it's difficult to imagine the brand in anyone else's hands — male or female. That said, the Marni "look" is so strong and recognizable that it shouldn't be too difficult for Risso to keep customers, many of whom may not even know Castiglioni's name, happy.
In 2012, Marni was tapped for an H&M collaboration over which fashion people clamored and that successfully translated those signatures to a lower price point. Later that same year, Castiglioni sold a majority stake in her company to Only the Brave (OTB), which is controlled by Renzo Rosso and also owns Maison Margiela, Diesel and Viktor & Rolf.
"The world pays tribute to the original vision of Consuelo, and to a unique brand which we are proud to have in our group," Rosso said in a statement. "I wish her the very best. I am happy to welcome Francesco, whose talent will contribute to writing a new chapter in the history of this house, which is Italian at heart and global in spirit. I am confident that the creative team and the management of Marni, which have contributed to this success, will continue to make this brand reach exciting new goals.”
This post has been updated with details and quotes provided by the brand.