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Weekend Max Mara’s Latest Collaboration With Gabriella Karefa-Johnson Is a Maximalist’s Dream

Photographed by Gigi Hadid

“I am a maximalist at heart that often cosplays as a minimalist, which is to say, I like my prints and patterns to do a lot of the talking rather than structure and silhouette,” says Gabriella Karefa-Johnson of her own style and its reflection in her spring 2022 collaboration with Weekend Max Mara. The stylist (and first Black woman to style many Vogue covers) always brings forward a sense of newness and represents a playful maximal aesthetic that brightens up everything around her. So, it’s no wonder prints and patterns are intrinsic to the new collection, out now.

“It’s really inspired by old archival images of the women in my life during their coming-of-age, adolescence, and young adulthood. For my mother and my aunt, that was happening in the ’60s and ’70s, so the collection has a bit of groove, which is always present in my style.” Karefa-Johnson also looked to her grandmother, who was settling into being a young mother and diplomat’s wife in the ’50s, endlessly traveling and entertaining. “I pulled a lot of the elegance and refinement in silhouettes from images of her,” she adds.

Photographed by Gigi Hadid

For the occasion, Gigi Hadid stepped behind the camera to shoot the campaign full of short printed dresses and skirt sets, washed denim baker boy hats, and playful clogs. Op-art checks mixed with psychedelic flowers inspired by the work of artist Bridget Riley, especially on costs and little day dresses. “Op Art worked as a great source of inspiration for this collection specifically because the thesis of that visual movement was that things aren’t always as they seem,” adds Karefa-Johnson. “I like that Op Art forces the viewer to investigate beyond the first glance and that every time you look at a work, your brain is trying to decode what it’s seeing. That’s what I love in fashion— the not-so-obvious, dare I say it… the mysterious!”

Photographed by Gigi Hadid

The imagery shows there are many ways to pair your prints, but for Karefa-Johnson, it goes even further than that: “In the campaign, we shot a lot of the pieces as they were designed to be worn but, so many of the printed silks are so malleable they can be worn in a million ways,” she says. “I loved the idea of silk scarves being a heavy influence in the collection, because as Black women they were always present in my family as protective styling tools for our hair but also worn as accessories.” Scarf tops, a scarf shirt, and a scarf dress were all there, but bright printed large square scarves tied around the neck and across the back as midriff-baring halter tops are the stylist’s favorite hack for donning the collection in an unexpected way.

Karefa-Johnson’s favorite piece from the collection? Any of the vibrant, statement-making outerwear. “It can easily elevate a T-shirt and jeans, or pair beautifully with a contrast printed dress,” Karefa-Johnson plans to pair it with the silk scarf dress herself. “Very trippy and weird but also elegant. My vibe in a nutshell.”

It’s clear that any piece from the collection would lend a very of-the-moment maximalist look, even for the more minimally understated fashion peacocks within us all. Shop the collection below.

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