Tuesday 5th June

| BY Claudia Croft

Max Mara: Resort 2019

Max Mara may be a global mega brand with stores in 100 countries, but when it came to putting on its cruise show, there was no place like home. It makes sense when home is Reggio Emilia and a vast contemporary art collection housed in the former Max Mara industrial HQ. The show was held at Collezione Maramotti, which brims with major Twombly, Burri and Anselmo pieces collected by Max Mara founder Achille Maramotti. Designer Ian Griffiths took inspiration directly from the daring art housed there. The freshness of Pascali’s Coliseum relief inspired light transparencies and the chalky, neutral palette. The idea for crinkly pleats on tube skirts and evening dresses came from a rippled Manzoni sculpture and Griffiths pointed out an Anselmo sculpture, Torsione “which is probably one of the most pivotal pieces of Arte Povera, which for us was the inspiration for a shoulder strap- because we are not artists we are fashion designers.” That’s the magic of Max Mara: it combines great sophistication with something everyone can relate to. There was plenty here for every woman from the roomy coats to the slouchy trousers shown with simple vests and a silk cummerbund for evening. And it was all done with that special Italian know how. The finish was immaculate. “We do straight forward clothes that you can get on with your life in,” said Griffiths, “But they have this connection to avant garde art. This man, Achille Maramotti, who was making power dressing clothes in the 1980s was buying Bacons and and Burris. He was not a conservative thinker. He was forward thinking and radical. It puts an new perspective on the clothes.” Griffiths felt emotional backstage – he’s worked for the company for thirty years but this show gave him an opportunity to show a new side of Max Mara and Italian fashion. “People are saying negative things about Italy but look at Italian culture, Italian charm, Italian food and Italian fashion, which is all about making people Bella. It’s about making people look their best. I wanted to celebrate that.” That he did.