At Max Mara Fall 2022, a veil of magic and whimsy cloaks guests. With the world outside a disastrous reel of violence and uncertainty, this dark room with its infinite runway acts as a secluded burrow to take refuge in, if only for a short while.
When looking for inspiration in which to hang the collection on, Max Mara Creative Director Ian Griffiths found his muse in the life and works of often overlooked multi-disciplinary modernist artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp, a central figure to the Dada art movement.
Wedged between two world wars, Dadaism was a rejection of nationalism and violence, famously stepping away from convention and instead handing themselves over to the absurd and irrational — to "magic" as Griffiths puts it. More magic cannot go astray, especially on the same day that reports came in that Russia had invaded Ukraine.
As Sofia Steinberg, Jill Kortleve, the Hadid sisters, Vittoria Ceretti, Adut Akech and Mona Tougaard begin the loop down the runway, a new kind of magic was palpable. Rather than magic of the glitzy, technicoloured kind, Griffiths took cues from Tauber-Arps 18th century magnum opus, The King Stag, where woodland folklore and marionette dolls shine.
Max Mara offers us an earthy colour palette of browns and olive with a touch of red and oxidised yellow. Symmetrical diamond motifs are interspersed throughout. Balaclavas act as armour to the elements, a nod to the cold alpine homeland of Taeuber-Arp, and a gesture toward the chainmail headdress worn by Joan of Arc in religious iconography and by valiant heroes in our most loved fairy tales. Zippered hand muffs found a way in too. Silhouettes dance between oversized and micro taking from the shapes of Taeuber-Arp's marionettes.
There were tunics, billowy bell skirts, chunky roll necks with quilting in the arms to mirror armour, long sleeve knitted gloves, and crêpe-soled knitted cuissards. Of course, all luxurious wintery Max Mara staples were present too. Cashmere was abound, as was Mohair. Coats elevated the looks out of the forest and into the working woman's wardrobe. Whereas that Teddy Bear fabric was recut and removed from its usual coat silhouette, refashioned instead into both mini and maxi skirts, vests and an aviation bomber.
For Fall 2022, Max Mara created a collection that we want to be coddled in, a teddy bear safety blanket weaved from fairytales and the magic of Sophie Taeuber-Arp. Let us stay a little while longer.
Watch the Max Mara Fall 2022 show, below.