You can feel like a broken record saying how fantastic Max Mara’s coats are season in and season out. But that’s the truth and to a large extent, it’s what people want from the brand. When the design team tries to broaden, it doesn’t always work. See last spring, for example.
It was more than nice to see Max Mara turn out fall outerwear that sets the bar for the category at the classic luxury level. It sauntered in on Natasha Poly in a velvety, crimson oversized tailored coat, followed by Gigi Hadid in a long crimson shearling. Then came Lily Donaldson in red ribbed knits over a red velvet pencil skirt. Casting big, relatively mature models, many of whom are rarely sighted on the runway anymore — including Isabeli Fontana and Eniko Mihalik — enhanced the swagger innate to the collection’s arch bombshell silhouettes.
Underneath the coats, which went on to include more intense shearlings, long cashmere capes, fuzzy teddy bear styles, a pinstriped trench, and tailored hybrids of shearling and bonded knits, were chicly conservative separates, such as a turtleneck and full tailored skirt or trousers. Each look was tonal, done in crimson, brown, gray, camel, gold and black.
Show notes, high-falutin’ even by high-falutin’ show notes standards — sample line: “Max Mara could feasibly field a design manifesto to rival any of them,” “them” being Vitruvius and Rasmussen — said the collection was heavily influenced by Swedish and Scandinavian aesthetic philosophies about democratic and honest design. (A hundred bucks to anyone who knew what “Slöjdföreningen” was before 9:30 Thursday morning.) That may have been true, but at the end of the show, the lasting impression was that the women lucky enough to own one of the collection’s coats can wear it forever.