Ian Griffiths heeded the call of individual style this season. Rather than sending out a color-blocked army, as Max Mara is wont to do on the runway, each model was styled with her own personality, without silly props like officer’s hats and neckties. It made all the difference: less corporate, more contemporary.
Devoted to the seafaring theme, Griffiths did not play it too hard and fast. Rather, he used a black, blue, charcoal and camel palette and a self-described sense of adventuring “from Morocco to Murmansk,” to loosen up the signature house tailoring and outerwear with romantic flounces and frills just short of swashbuckling. The result was dreamy but pragmatic, and touched on many of fall’s emerging trends — oversize, classic dressing and power sleeves among them.
He flirted with the capes that have so entranced designers this season. (Standouts included a long, sweeping gray cashmere version with marine stripes and a toggle closure, and a classic camel coat-as-cape.) An oversize gray overcoat commanded attention with power puff sleeves softened with ruffles (they were less successful when deployed on a pinstripe double-breasted blazer, which seemed weighed down by the frills). The famed Teddy coat came as a lush striped robe de chambre, long and slightly flared, and as a caramel-colored hooded shearling with glossy finish, adding a sense of novelty to the style.
Griffiths dipped into the parka trend, too, sending Bella Hadid out in a snug navy nylon bomber with a slightly puffed sleeve over crisp sailor jeans. (Instead of using down feathers, he recycled Max Mara cashmere remnants and shredded them for the wadding, a nod to the prevailing green mood.)
Peacoats paired with flounce skirts or monastic fantastic tunic dresses rounded out the masculine/feminine daytime options, grounded with cool black leather lug sole Ghillie shoes. And for evening, a navy blue sheer organza ruffled blouse over rope-tied high-waist velvet trousers, and a navy blue velvet cocktail dress with chain motif keyhole embroidery, navigated effortlessly between sailor and siren.