Thursday 24th September

| BY Scarlett Conlon

Max Mara: Ready-to-Wear SS21

There are few brands that capture the Bella Figura quite like Max Mara and few designers that tap into its essence as well as its long-term creative director Ian Griffiths. The designer returned to the brand’s roots during lockdown, revisiting the codes that emerged out of a post-war era in the 1950s and juxtaposing them with the Italian Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries and the state of emergency we find ourselves in now.

“The Max Mara woman is stepping out into the world to rebuild it and make it better than ever before,” explained Griffiths post-show, on the steps of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, dapper as ever in a double-breasted pinstripe suit and polka-dot pocket square. “She’s looking to her wardrobe for emotional and psychological support, which has never been more valid.”

Citing themes of “rebirth, renewal, reconstruction” as stimuli, this spring/summer 2021 collection dug deep into the new routines women will find themselves in. Drawstring palazzo pants and technical jumpsuits with elasticated cuffs provided a luxury answer to the loungewear we adopted quicker than you can say Zoom call over lockdown (“the novelty of taking a call in your PJs has worn off now,” said Griffiths), while relaxed suiting – complete with spliced and bloused sleeves – make for “the kind of suit that the night before you go to work, you feel excited to wear it the following day,” he said.

Together with super-hero caped trenchcoats, patchworked matelasse sweaters and a contemporary line in hooded anoraks with built-in peak caps, the collection had a fresh sense of practicality, purpose and direction – even the classic camel coat was reinvented in a cape-like silhouette with flyaway sleeves (rebuilding the world calls for a pragmatic approach, after all).

For Griffiths, this was a showcase to take pride in Max Mara’s ability to reinvent and innovate as it has always done through every Renaissance, as well as his role in it. “I’m so proud of MaxMara for its monumental ability to organise itself [to have this show], and I’m so proud of Italy, more than I ever was before. I have really rediscovered my love for this country and its unique heritage.”