Max Mara -- FALL 2021 READY-TO-WEAR
It is now 70 years since a driven young entrepreneur named Achille Maramotti founded Max Mara. As current designer Ian Griffiths noted, in 1951 Maramotti had envisaged the market for his fledgling coat factory as the wives of Italy’s male professionals—“and then they rose and they rose, and Max Mara rose with them. Now they’re doctors, they’re lawyers, they’re vice president of the United States.”
To mark the parallel 70-year ascent of Max Mara as a byword for excellence in women’s professional power dressing and the rightful ascent of its customers to assume by merit positions of professional power, Griffiths imagined his runway a celebratory procession. The feel was heavily Anglocentric. This was because Max Mara has long looked to London for source codes. It also reflected Griffiths’s twin identities as a young punk kid in the British capital and, more recently, as a content rural gent in Suffolk. There was also a satisfying irony in the framing of a celebration of hard-won meritocracy in a format echoing the celebration of an inherently un-meritocratic British institution.
Whether earned through merit or privilege, there were many pieces here to delight in possessing. The bomber jacket’s inherent functionality was lent tactility through renderings in camel cashmere and the house’s key Fozzie Bear–like teddy. A version of the classic house teddy-bear coat came in a new shade of khaki, and there was a spirited rendition of Max Mara’s canonical 101801 coat, first designed by Anne-Marie Beretta 40 years ago. A cashmere-face shearling worn north of a green alpaca sweater and patterned skirt looked like a potential nu-classic. Griffiths said that one oversized Aran sweater was made in 1.5 kilograms of cashmere.
Country-casual outerwear shapes were rendered in alpaca finished to be thornproof (a function probably best not to test), while a classic waxed-style jacket with action shoulders was lined in that teddy fabric. Quilted gilets and liners were presented in camel hair—plus there was an amazing quilted green mantle in velvet—and tailoring was patterned in market-town tattersall check.
Playing against the rural were organza kilts—more Camden punk than Highland Games—and skirts, sweats, T-shirts, and headscarves patterned with variations of original Max Mara graphics. (There was a heavy emphasis on llamas.)
Today’s digitally presented runway show might not have been lined with giddy, flag-waving crowds (too soon), but as a celebration of Max Mara’s platinum jubilee, it was splendid nonetheless.