As people migrate north to chase the European sun, so too did Max Mara to present its Resort 24 collection. When you're based in Italy – or specifically, Reggio Emilia, the province known for parmesan – a lush coastal destination could easily be scouted out. But this time around, Ian Griffiths, creative director at Max Mara, left the brand's homelands in search of Scandinavian Midsommar.
It is unsurprising then that the collection that emerged in Stockholm's Blue Hall was rich in folk tales and traditions, given Griffiths esoteric storytelling has earned him a reputation as the "fashion world's Stephen Fry". That's not to say the clothes were encumbered with historical references or cramped with nostalgia. The spare, considered and streamlined sensibility quintessential to Max Mara elevated the feeling of hygge – an unusual pairing with summer. Floor-skimming capes, dark pom poms and tassels, and gigot sleeves could have felt heavy and yet retained a swishy lightness, aided by its monochromatic and tonal colour palette. As it happened, and not by coincidence, Griffiths created clothes – airy tunics and billowing blouses – one could easily imagine wearing while carrying out pagan rituals.
One such ritual being Septum Flores (doubling as the name of the collection), which involves the collection of seven types of wildflowers on Midsommar Eve, to be placed under your pillow to conjure visions of your true love while dreaming. Floral motifs were embroidered onto smock-like shirts and saturated the final quarter of the collection via sheer silk organza gowns and shirred dresses.
In line with Max Mara's own origin story, the collection was grounded in a retelling of Nordic feminist folklore, beginning with the Vikings and an understanding that their pillaging was gender-equitable. Other fables that influenced the clothes in their own way, was lesbian monarch, Queen Christina of Sweden; along with Henrik Ibsen's prolific New Woman, as modelled throughout his plays; and finally, Selma Lagerlöf, the Swedish author celebrated for being the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The true feat of the collection, however, is Griffith's ability to condense all of these ideas into clothes as simple and refined as Scandinavian design itself.
Explore the Max Mara Resort 24 collection, below.