Ian Griffiths has a feeling for workwear blues — and greens, and Barbie pink, not forgetting Max Mara’s signature camel.
Here was a handsome, approachable spring collection exalting the neatness, practicality and timelessness of military style, which Griffiths noted has been recurrent in women’s fashion for at least 300 years.
His mood board was dominated by a heroic recruitment poster for the Women’s Land Army, a British civilian effort to conscript women into agriculture, replacing the men called up for duty. Next to it were grainy images of women driving tractors, milking cows and gardening. Tens of thousands of women answered the call during both world wars.
“Turning swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks,” Griffiths grinned backstage, quoting the Book of Isaiah, and noting that the land army also encouraged “the flowering of talent and ability … For many women, it was a route to education.”
The collection took its cues from the uniforms those lady farmers of yore adopted, including dungarees, boiler suits, and apron dresses in sturdy cotton drill. Models weaved throughout the vast beige space, dotted here and there with clumps of tall grasses to evoke the English countryside.
This being a fashion show, and also spring 2024, Griffiths went for a slender and leggy look hinged on pencil skirts, high-heeled sandals and HotPants, the first breakout trend of this Milan Fashion Week.
The sun-bleached colors looked new for Max Mara, and will likely be seen around the water cooler come spring, particularly the boxy utility jackets and safari shirts with their commanding shoulders.
Thick, elastic waistbands looked a little bunchy on some of the parkas and jumpsuits, but overall this was a sleek and sprightly take on utilitarian style.
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