Max Mara’s modern-day glamour
If you really want a good idea what women will be wearing in six months time, few better places to start than at Max Mara, the most influential high-end coat maker in the world.
This fall it will all be about glamour, and the return of the power shoulder. In a brilliant display, the house’s designer, Englishman Ian Griffiths, sent out beautifully plush, boxy coats and cut with high flared collars that referenced that era, while updating it subtly.
Tough chic, with many great coats completed with exterior, zipped patch pockets, or trimmed with leather strips. Stylish mohair sweater dresses for cocktail hour finished with knee boots from Griffiths, the little known but truly influential gent driving Max Mara’s creative team.
He also dreamt up a new series of shoulder holster bags, for women on the move. One variant was a leather shawl that ended into two hunter’s pockets. They all looked fab.
Griffiths has plenty of courage, dreaming up several new garments that managed to combine sailor’s pants, culottes and kilts. Everything looked jaunty, inspiring and spruce.
The program note even quoted Camille Paglia, the thinking woman’s feminist, rejoicing "it’s men that suffer from conventions of dress." Indeed, what made this collection so good was the way that the collection was unexpected, revolutionary yet hyper plausible.
It helped that the staging was flawless, a giant runway in the main atrium of Bocconi University, a beautiful graphic modernist space in marble and gray stone sunk into the heart of Italy’s greatest business school, backed up by a great Johnny Dynell soundtrack.
Throughout the show, hundreds of students watched the action enviously through a towering, block-long window on the street, future leaders of industry checking out their ideal wardrobe.
The location suggested that Bocconi graduates – over half of them are women – would one day look to Max Mara for their wardrobe. It all felt like an empowering moment, especially in this great new building. Designed, by the way, by two women, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, from the award-winning Dublin firm Grafton Architects.
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