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  • Diana Khoo

Interview: Donald Robertson collaborates with Weekend Max Mara in whimsical collection ‘Flutterflies

In the brand’s SS21 Signature collection, expect a warm-weather wardrobe bursting with vibrant hues and lively prints inspired by the butterfly.

This is the first time Robertson has worked with designers in Italy (All photos: Weekend Max Mara)

Fashion’s favourite artist, beloved by brands and celebs alike (Beyoncé is a big fan), talks about his latest collaboration.

Options: How do you feel about holding the title of ‘Fashion’s Favourite Artist’? Donald Robertson: That is a dangerous thing to say out loud; also, it is old now but it was nice when whoever said it said it.

You are also so often compared to Andy Warhol, although we have heard you personally prefer being compared to Pharrell Williams. I like Pharrell’s happy vibe. I much prefer being fun than edgy.

What kind of relationship do you have with fashion? I am like an older brother who teases his younger siblings. I like to have fun with the fashion world … mess around with them for a bit. Fashion people are all chic children, after all.

How did the collaboration with Weekend Max Mara come to be? I have worked with designers in New York, London, Paris and Korea before but this is my first in Italy. Instagram has made the world very small. We all know one another from there. We had a ‘play date’ in my studio in Santa Monica, California. It was a virtual play date and they were able to see all the fun things I am working on and they noticed my shelves of colourful gaffer tape.

The collection is perfect for weekend-wear

Tell us about the Flutterflies name. I had first suggested calling it ‘TGIF’ but was told it wasn’t a global expression. To me, Flutterfly sounds like Friday. It is perfect for weekend-wear fashion! That was also the reason I included a pair of sneakers in the collection. It really is for the weekend!

Butterflies are a symbol of Weekend Max Mara. Do they have a special meaning for you too? Strangely, I never do butterflies. Never. But coincidentally, I had just started playing around with the idea of hand-cut butterflies made out of heavy industrial gaffer tape in crazy colours. It’s like I knew they were going to call. So when they did, I sent a pile of them to the studio in Reggio-Emilia.

Do you have a favourite piece from the capsule collection? My favourite colour is blurred rainbow. In fact, California invented the blurred rainbow colour. My favourite pieces are the tiny versions they are making of the collection for my six-year-old skater-surfer twin boys. It will be very cool to wear in the skate parks in California.

How do you want women to feel when they wear your collab pieces from Weekend Max Mara? Each item looks like wearable happiness. I keep getting these great photos of women of all ages, from 20 to 90, wearing the collection and it looks great on everyone! This is not a moody, sullen moment. We are celebrating being free again. Well, almost.

Robertson’s book features playful anecdotes and quotes from industry leaders, fashion designers, and his many collaborators and muses

Do you think dressing in vibrant colours is a natural choice or does it subconsciously communicate a wish for positivity? I believe happiness is a decision you make when you wake up. Rainbow stripe jeans can also help if you are having a particularly tough day.

You had once given four great pieces of advice: Keep your instincts childish. Be pure. Don’t try to please people. And don’t bury the crazy. Now that almost two years of living under the shadow of the pandemic has made everyone slightly loopy, do you have any more advice to add to that? Yes. Think inside the box! That is one piece of advice I would swear by. The world is too overwhelming at times. So, you need to go small in order to think big.


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