In an empty room at the University Bocconi, striped deck chairs line the hallway of this historic institution. It’s the location of Max Mara’s Spring/Summer 2022 fashion show, where the upper echelon of Milanese society has gathered to watch Ian Griffiths latest collection.
Emerging from a hidden room, Italy’s very own Vittoria Ceretti steps out in a look Griffiths describes as “bad girl.” Inspired by the life and work of beat generation intellectuelle Françoise Sagan, Max Mara explores the dichotomy between hedonism, freedom and existentialism, presenting a form of “bourgeois rebel” for the upcoming season ahead.
In an exclusive interview, we sat down with Creative Director Ian Griffiths to discuss the show, the Max Mara woman and rebelling against the norm.
“There’s no doubt because of the world the Max Mara woman lives in she’s part of the bourgeois, but she always kicks against it every season. Especially since the pandemic we want to do things on our own terms and I wanted to show that. More than ever she’s expressing her rebellious side,” Ian tells us.
This season, Max Mara dissects “sophisticated philosophers and high-brow novelists” for their resortwear-esque offering. It’s beatnik chic and entirely non-conformist. Speaking on the defiant and individualistic outlook of the collection, Griffiths comments “I wanted to evoke a ‘bad girl’ look, one that is put together by a woman who wants everything on her own terms by disregarding conventions that she feels antiquated or outdated. It’s a woman who has something to say and won’t accept compromise.”
This was best highlighted by the tough workwear jackets, short skirts and flat chunky soled shoes, “almost a sandal style of a brothel creeper” that are reimagined with prêt-à-porter finesse.
We delved a little more into Griffiths fixation with Françoise Sagan, with many of the workwear classics seen in the collection a direct translation of her own personal style. So, what does Griffiths think Sagan would be drawn to from the collection?
“That’s a really good question! I’d like to think she’d wear the last look, which was shown on Gigi Hadid. An oversized denim jacket with an almost couture spirit to it, and underneath a little skinny one with a bandeau top and mini skirt realised in boxfresh denim.”
Other looks include oversized, boyfriend style shirting, utilitarian denim and vintage striped tops.
“The collection makes references to holidays and the beach, when I think of summer I think of my childhood summers. One thing that automatically brings me a sense of nostalgic joy are parasols, windbreaks and deck chairs. The choice of those in the collection connects to a personal fond memory for me, but also for many others.”
So why stage the show at a university?
“The other important message about the collection is the intellectual framework behind it. I wanted to make a statement about the Max Mara woman having a brain, there is a cerebral element to every collection. Also the women studying here are the future managers of industry around the world – I wanted to open up a dialogue with them.”
Overall, the collection evoked an almost grandiose cinematic atmosphere, with Griffiths himself making a cameo ‘appearance’ as the male vocalist in the soundscape. These garments are something we would see in European classics, including Bonjour Tristesse and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
We’re looking forward to our time in the sun, styled in Max Mara amongst secluded beaches, fast cars, chic restaurants and casinos.
The Max Mara Spring/Summer 2022 collection can be viewed at Max Mara Australia and below.