Thursday 25th February

| BY Claudia Croft

Max Mara: Ready-to-wear AW21

2021 is a big year for Max Mara. The Italian brand celebrates its 70th anniversary. A big party and a catwalk extravaganza would have been on the cards, but for Covid. Instead, designer Ian Griffiths filmed a digital show in Milan and focused on the core Max Mara values, laid down in 1951 by the founder Achille Maramotti: ‘Real clothes for real women.’

“Everything we’ve ever done at Max Mara has worked when we stuck to that simple idea,” said Griffiths. He added a British flavour, inspired by royal dressing. “It’s a good way of explaining Maramotti’s other idea that classic doesn’t have to be conservative.” Griffiths was thinking of, “a self-made queen,” in the great outdoors. “It was a triumph of the coat,” said the designer of the item that Max Mara is best known for.

The variety and quality of outerwear was awesome: From the iconic 101 801 coat, to great big teddy bear coats, checked coats, waxed jackets with teddy lining, minimal single-breasted pop-overs, a thornproof jacket in the softest alpaca, a sleek sleeveless coat and a glorious cape in double-face cashmere.

A great addition to the MaxMara coat cannon came in the shape of a diamond quilted, green velvet housecoat, worn with a silk headscarf and sunglasses. “That was inspired by Princess Margaret,” said Griffiths. New too, was an oversized teddy bear bomber designed to be worn over everything and anything. “It’s a big, soft comforting thing, you can cling to like a security blanket,” said the designer, who mused on the power of the coat – especially since much of our socialising has to happen outdoors.

“You couldn’t get emotionally attached to a pair of trousers but you form an emotional relationship with your coat like no other item in the wardrobe. You wear it more often and there’s something about the way it looks after you and protects you, it’s like a house for the streets. It’s architecture.”

Photography courtesy of Max Mara.