Max Mara shares a Baudelairean view of the city; its landscape a living breathing entity, its mood swings restless, fleeting, transient, often unpredictable. But when the summer sun strikes, things are pretty certain to take a sybaritic turn. The smarter cosmopolites seek out discreetly luxurious oases, shady patios and hidden gardens. Business and pleasure blur, with the promise of al fresco breakfast pow wows, sun-dappled working lunches, garden parties and well earned crepuscolar cocktails. The settings for those happy rendez-vous are staged by a nouvelle vague of philosophers-cum-gardeners. ‘Work with, not against nature’ urges Gilles Clément. So, out with the overblown peonies, the exigent roses and vexatious lilies, in with the spriggy meadow flowers, happy-go-lucky poppies alliums and cardooms. He allows them to grow in unruly drifts -a neat foil to the sunbaked sidewalks and concrete canyons of the cityscape.
Max Mara Spring-Summer 2018 is a precisely calibrated wardrobe for the hedonistic citizens of this modern terrain. There’s lean tailoring in stone, black and white -sometimes executed in organza to reveal the inner workings in layers of transparency- as sharp as the midsummer play of sun and shadow on urban architecture. To complement the subdued elegance of those exclusive pit stops, a sand-on-sand heritage logo motif, dating from the company’s early days, woven into a trench or printed onto a leather jacket. To echo the colours of those up-to-the-minute parterres, this season’s must-have mauves and a streetsmart take on florals; delicately painted sprays, as fresh as the evening dew.
The urban ne plus ultra -the trenchcoat- re-emerges as a crisp linen spolverino and a sassy pencil skirt. There are natty little mannish coats and jeans jackets to wear with boy-cut pants, all designed with an eye to understated elegance. For a spot of drama, there are ankle grazing skirts: buckled kilts in gauzy linen for everyday, and for dressier moments, georgette, pleated and cut into strips that flutter seductively.
Complete with soft outsize bags and sleek clutches in all the patterns and prints of the collection, and this season’s Iris sunglasses, Max Mara’s latter-day flâneuses are perfectly accoutered to savour the summertime city’s delights.