Max Mara Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear: Sober, Sensual — and Shy on Camel


As one of fashion’s longest-serving creative directors, Ian Griffiths always manages to find new things to say at Max Mara — or to leave unsaid. This season he put the brand’s signature camel shade on the back burner and let a host of dark blues, grays and black cast a spell of soigné sobriety.

This was a melancholy show that nevertheless packed a wallop with its sinuous or cocooning, drop-waist shapes reminiscent of the 1910s and ’20s. The clothes radiated luxury, dignity and self-awareness.

Griffiths cast a clutch of veteran models, including Guinevere van Seenus, Gemma Ward and Natasha Poly, to underscore the latter quality. “There’s something cool about a woman who knows herself,” he mused.

French author Colette, who also exalted the joys of dressing to please herself in her mature years, dominated the mood board backstage. Griffiths lauded the spareness and economy of her writing, which “in that sense corresponds to Max Mara design.”

To wit: The designer coaxed a Belle Époque allure via full, kimono-like sleeves, blousing backs and low buttoning stances on coats; with tie-waists on pants and wrap skirts, and with utility pockets and funneling necklines on tunics. There was also a low-key sensuality that came through in his tight turtlenecks, lingerie-style rompers, and the thin, obi-like belts defining waists.

Knitwear is emerging as the big story out of Milan and Griffiths is hip to the trend, opening his display with a long, enveloping navy coat with pinked edges, following up with a host of cocooning sweaters and outerwear with the cozy allure of an oversized cardigan.

Almost hidden amid the Jacques Henri Lartigue and Peter Lindbergh photos on the mood board were two looks from Griffiths’ graduate collection, whose very full sleeves he reprised on coats, tops and sweaters in his fall 2024 effort for Max Mara.

“One of the joys about fashion is that we can revisit inspiration,” he enthused. “And when we revisit it, it comes back totally different. It evolves.”

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