Max Mara’s many moments: Max & Co, Weekend Max Mara, Marina Rinaldi
It was all systems go at Piazza del Liberty on Wednesday afternoon, as three famed fashion ladies – Kate Phelan, Anna dello Russo and Mary Katrantzou - presented collections for lines within the Max Mara group.
Anna dello Russo created a capsule collection very much in her own upbeat, bright-hued, attention hugging sense for Max&Co. Kate Phelan showed cool Anglo-chic for Weekend Max Mara. Mary Katrantzou collaborated with an impressively charming capsule for Marina Rinaldi, part of the extended empire of the Maramotti family, the founders and owners of Max Mara.
Weekend Max Mara: Britishness near Bologna
Upstairs on the third floor, Phelan, probably the single most influential London-based stylists of the past quarter century, showed a drole blend of sturdy style, retro takes on denim and country cool for Weekend Max Mara.
Very much in her own image, the collection’s well spring was a December 1982 Vogue shoot by Bruce Weber, styled by Grace Coddington and starring Talisa Soto.
“It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Men and women being seen together and looking beautiful. Images that defined my direction in fashion,” Phelan confided.
Girls in men’s overcoats made in a great steely gray Donegal tweed herringbone; or classical British fabrics seen in a speckled trout fly Harris Tweed mannish blazer. When you open the jacket, the label Harris Tweed is stitched inside.
Like the effortlessly stylish Phelan, her Weekend Max Mara gal favors mannish crisp white cotton shirts, urban mod parkas and double-face wool robe coats.
It’s all called '24', a wardrobe of clothes a gal can wear any day and through the whole day. Clothes designed to be old friends and have quality and heritage. Classy Britain-meets-impeccable Italian quality from Weekend Max Mara, a brand based near Bologna.
“The ideas came from when I was a student in London. We all wanted to buy Comme des Garcons or Yohji [Yamamoto] but couldn’t. So, we bought second-hand men’s clothes, cut them to size and wore them with denim. So, this is about the fashion I wore before I started working in fashion,” laughed the Devon-born Phelan.
Max&Co: ADR interprets the DNA
Max&Co, by contrast, was a carefully deconstructed distillation of the DNA of Italian 'It Gal', long-time Japanese Vogue creative director and Instagram phenom, Anna dello Russo.
Long known for her obsessional love of a paparazzi moment outside well, every show, Italian Anna turned out to have plenty of designer chops.
She created a pastel hued-collection of snazzy basics – like wee Spencers, bras top and hot pants. She deconstructed blazers and long coats with authority. The label on these smart looks read 'Max&Co De-Coated &Co.llaboration with ADR.'
All jackets made in recycled polyester, with a remarkably sympathetic hand. A full-color silhouette in different proportions. Completed by a series of techno wool peacoats; 90s style PVC flight jackets and fine wool cropped sweaters.
Shown in the upper level of the Max&Co flagship boutique in Piazza del Liberty just around the corner from the Duomo. Add in snappy stretch cocktails with built corsets and some medium volume coats and you had a high fashion version of Max&Co, the entry level youth orientated line of this great north Italian brand.
The overall result - darned good fashion for Max&Co, and Anna ADR.
Marina Rinaldi: A Florentine Katrantzou
The installation said it all. A super space that looked like a Florentine paper maker had taken over Milan. Floor to ceiling curls, swirls and waves of deep purple, turquoise and rusty red almost overwhelmed the eye inside another third floor show-space devoted to Mary Katrantzou’s first capsule for Marina Rinaldi.
Though the jolts of color turned out to be culled from Mary’s pre-pandemic February 2019 show in London, and a look never went into production. The original was made of feathers.
Previous collabs for Marina Rinaldi have been with Roksanda and Marco De Vincenzo.
“I think this is a great opportunity to understand that client. It was a great learning curve. It’s a woman who dresses from day to night, adventurous but not too adventurous,” said Mary.
So, she did precision engineers print plissé dresses, color blocking outerwear and knitwear dresses. Just 15 looks, which have quadrupled sales on previous designer collabs.
Mary had a complicated pandemic. She had just launched resort collection Mary Mare as scores of wholesale clients couldn’t accept deliveries due to Covid.
But every cloud has a silver lining. Katrantzou and her partner of 21 years were blessed with a first child, a son Michael, born one year ago.
St Michael is walking now. Mary is soaring again.
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