‘A reflection of joy’: Francesco Risso on Marni’s new collaboration with Uniqlo

The second collaboration between Marni creative director Francesco Risso and Uniqlo promises an uplifting take on Uniqlo staples. Here, Risso tells Wallpaper* the story behind the collection

Two women in Uniqlo Marni on colourful background
Uniqlo and Marni Winter 2022
(Image credit: Courtesy of Uniqlo)

Clothes that subscribe to the tenets of simplicity, quality, and longevity can easily be passed over as boring. Not so when they’re in the hands of Francesco Risso, the ebullient creative director of Marni. When a collaboration between the Italian label and Uniqlo was first discussed, Risso had already been a long-term fan of the Japanese retailer’s LifeWear staples, especially the range of Heattech thermal tops and leggings, ‘because apart from their technicality, they really expose the line of the body’, he says.

A second Uniqlo and Marni collection launches on 1 December 2022 with layering at the core. Popcorn-knit vests, sweaters and balaclavas come in neon green, orange, and saffron yellow. Gloves and stoles are made in soft cashmere and mélange knit. 100 per cent silk furoshiki scarves have hand-painted patterns and are edged with a zig-zag stitch. Multi-stripe merino dresses are interrupted by black ruched wiggles. 

Uniqlo and Marni Winter 2022

Two women in colourful Marni Uniqlo clothes

Uniqlo and Marni Winter 2022

(Image credit: Courtesy of Uniqlo)

The capsule thrums with both Marni’s spirited eccentricity and Uniqlo’s rigorous efforts to perfect what are already ideal staples. ‘After working with them, I now understand their unbending integrity for design, which is made to exalt the persona of the wearer and that aim is very clear on both sides,’ Risso says. ‘Putting our textures on their bases and their bases onto our textures, this jumbling of things, was very much a learning curve. I guess they were laughing at some of our playful approaches whilst we felt very grounded by theirs.’

Recently, Risso has noticed a different body confidence that people have on the streets, so this collection favours garments that unapologetically define the body. Knitted trousers, Heattech leggings, socks and long-sleeve tops come in colour-blocked pale pink, cornflower blue and black or psychedelic brush-stroke prints. A soft down-filled puffer is cut slightly lower at the back and feels like a cloud. ‘When our first collaboration was released, I saw a full-on adoption of it. More than just someone in a dress or a shirt, people were really combining things and going for the whole expressivity of it. We wanted to jump into that more and make it even more graphic. Treat the body as a graphic gesture.’ 

Portrait of Marni’s Francesco Risso in Marni Uniqlo outfit on colourful background

Francesco Risso

(Image credit: Courtesy of Uniqlo)

The look is grungy and cheery, best worn piled on. ‘I'm always intrigued by people and their lives, that's what really informs the way we build up collections. This is a period that requires a lot of that reflection. The world is harsh and there’s a need for us to find or get pleasure from what we do. I think what this collection does – and what our way of making is about – is a reflection on joy, especially right now.’  

The second Uniqlo and Marni collection launches from Thursday 1 December 2022 in selected stores and online.

uniqlo.com (opens in new tab)

Woman in colourful psychedelic Marni Uniqlo catsuit

Uniqlo and Marni Winter 2022

(Image credit: Courtesy of Uniqlo)

London based writer Dal Chodha is editor-in-chief of Archivist Addendum — a publishing project that explores the gap between fashion editorial and academe. He writes for various international titles and journals on fashion, art and culture and is a contributing editor at Wallpaper*. Chodha has been working in academic institutions for more than a decade and is Stage 1 Leader of the BA Fashion Communication and Promotion course at Central Saint Martins. In 2020 he published his first book SHOW NOTES, an original hybrid of journalism, poetry and provocation.