“I must see new things and investigate them. I want to taste dark water and see cracking trees and wild winds.” The epigraph of Sportmax’s Pre-Fall show notes, a quote from painter Egon Schiele, came as something of a surprise, as did the idea that the design team had drawn on Schiele’s dark, sexual, and fervently expressive body of work. Here was a collection of slick materials and immaculate fabrications with not so much as a jutting hip bone in sight. What these clothes lacked in Schiele’s urgency or eroticism they made up for in cool, faintly off-kilter polish: a pieced-together coat in glossy haircalf; an ensemble of macro-plaid jacket, trousers, and scarf; color-blocked knits with asymmetrical peplums. Silhouettes skewed toward the slightly eccentric and oversized but were tempered by the standout tailoring that characterizes the Max Mara main line. A striped blazer and wide-legged trousers were particularly beautiful, as was a glossy, cocoon mink. Even if the Schiele name-check felt mostly nominal, there were plenty of covetable—and commercially viable—pieces that should only increase the momentum Sportmax has had in recent seasons.

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