MaxMara – Pre Spring/Summer 2016 Ready-To-Wear
From the rough-and-tumble of East End boxing clubs to the oh-I-say of The City; from the springtime flowers in the Royal Parks to Cecil Beaton-shot rubble of the Blitz; from Noël Coward to Amy Winehouse: The tender references to London here were as wide-ranging as they were densely packed.
In a Max Mara show? What’s up with that? Well, for a start, this is London. The new vogue for itinerant pre-collection shows, plus the opening of a fine new three-story Old Bond Street store, gave Team Max Mara the urge to import Resort here from its recent residency in New York. Furthermore, in creative director Ian Griffiths, the house has a designer who is a Londoner (Islington, specifically). The last time he showed his clothes at home was in 1987, his graduate collection from the Royal College of Art. Back on his patch 28 years later, Griffiths went for it.
The opening section featured an interplay of pinstripe and chalk stripe on capes and coats worn over scoop-necked shirts, racerback vests, and trousers sliced at the hem to give great shoe. Boxing went the distance via mink head guards and mittens, piped and printed warm-up robes, mesh racerback vests, and leather boxing shorts whose broad, cummerbund-ish elasticated waists were elsewhere incorporated into fine slouchy pajama pants. Those shorts allowed for a dose of modern athleisurely layering against which to counterpoint Max Mara’s traditionally excellent outerwear and tailoring. Particularly punchy coat-wise were the intarsia shearlings in old-boys-club stripes. The puritanism of pinstripe receded for pajama-loose silk trousers, high-waisted and slouchy, dusted with azalea and rose. Colorways suddenly popped from daffodil yellow to peony pink, then faded as fast again into an off-tone monochrome ending delineated by more stripes and gridded florals. On the backdrop screen, meanwhile, a city tour collage flitted from the Brutalism of the Barbican to Pugin’s Palace of Westminster, as Coward and Winehouse played an unlikely but surprisingly harmonious duet on the PA. A coded ode to London extremes, this was also a valiant stab at casting Max Mara as a destination for adventurous edge as much as reliable discretion.