The newest Max Mara pre-fall 2017 collection and runway show could be described as the epitome of the “go big or go home” philosophy, as the Italian fashion house headed to the Shanghai Exhibition Center to showcase both its pre-fall collection and an exclusive capsule collection created in collaboration with Chinese artist Liu Wei.
Beijing-based conceptual artist Liu Wei worked not only at Max Mara’s pre-fall capsule collection, but also at the installation of the runway, which greatly helped the show and collection’s pieces get their ultimate conceptualist and almost futuristic look. Entitled “Monopolis!”, Max Mara’s pre-fall 2017 runway show marked one of the highest haute couture-esque peaks for the brand, as it really helped the label prove that one should never underestimate Max Mara’s creative stream of consciousness.
This creativity intricately ran throughout both the installation and Wei’s 11-piece capsule collection, as it combined “Max Mara’s sartorial milestones and aesthetic with unexpected cuts, volumes and patchworks inspired by the artist’s site specific installations.”
Both the event and the collections as a whole left Max Mara’s creative director Ian Griffiths particularly happy and satisfied with the outcomes, as he not only managed to mix art with fashion and vice versa, but also to grow his very own perspectives on fashion into something else.
“[Liu Wei and I] produced something that has given me, as a designer, a new direction that I can incorporate now as part of the Max Mara identity,” explained Griffiths backstage. “This sense of rawness that is, I think, completely modern . . . this sense of imperfection that I think signifies the way people want to be today; they want to be glamorous and they want luxury, but they don’t want to be perfect or as if they were trying to be perfect.”
Both Max Mara’s pre-fall 2017 and the Liu Wei x Max Mara staples incorporated such raw and cosmopolitan leitmotifs, lines and patterns to the figures, with the latter being specifically inspired by topographic maps. To better embody the “raw” concept, Griffiths created almost all of his pre-fall 2017 proposals using wool and cashmere, the tailored soft feel of which also reclaims the fashion house’s made in Italy legacy.
All in all, the Max Mara pre-fall 2017 collection is all about flattering silhouettes and empowering figures, as Griffith turned to heroin characters, such as Joan Crawford and Lauren Bacall, as sources of inspiration. Such a choice let the collection veer to a sort of Matrix-meets-the-Forties kind of look, with cinched waists, structured shoulders and urban chic sharp-cuts dominating the scene.
The color palette was eclectic, too, although predominantly coherent. Aside from a few neutral beiges and browns, the Max Mara pre-fall 2017 line-up had a great time playing with bright whites and pastel colors, among which a soft light blue and an off-yellow surely are the most appealing.
Those who particularly loved the 11 pieces designed by Liu Wei, can already find them available for purchase online, as Max Mara featured the acclaimed see-now-buy-now formula for them, for the first time ever. Howbeit, Griffiths made it very clear this formula won’t become the norm for Max Mara, as “our customers are quite happy to reflect on what they see on the runway for six months or so, and by the time they get to the stores, they really know the look. [See-now-buy-now] is a big opportunity to tap into at the moment… We just wouldn’t like to build our business around it.”
What we are sure about is that Max Mara’s customers got a breath of fresh air with this runway show!
Photos courtesy of Vogue