Out of Africa by way of the Eighties. That was the prescription for Max Mara’s spring collection, which worked a specific take on safari — sexy and with attitude. These were clothes for a latter-day power woman, one secure in the knowledge that she looks good, strong and on the cusp of intimidating.
So bring on the big-game khakis (and tobaccos and camels) in supple fabrics such as techno-silk and ultrasoft suede. The design team under fashion director Laura Lusuardi favored a long silhouette that featured an accented shoulder (via pads, epaulets, sheer insets) and back volume (blousons, trench-backs, flapping stadium hoods); it was tapered into hip-hugging skirts or pants. A trench dress had short, full sleeves and a double flange on one side; the lean proportions of a jumpsuit mocked its utility roots.
The jungle fever heightened with animal prints, sometimes in a raucous collage with florals and an earth-toned plaid. These ranged from the good kind of bold (multipatterned skirt with something solid on top) to the approaching headache kind (spots, plaids and flowers head to toe, coming and going). The insertion of some lovely dusty blues made for a restful counterpoint.