The fall and winter 2019 Max Mara runway collection, presented Thursday at Milan’s Bocconi University, opened with a troika of models strutting the runway in unison in bright green, blue and yellow monochrome looks that layered fuzzy alpaca sweaters over roomy, strong-shouldered menswear-inspired suit jackets paired with miniskirts and faux croc over-the-knee boots. It was a memorable show opener that evoked the look and feel of the ’90s-era runway when glamour and power wasn’t an either/or proposition.
“Sometimes, in the debate about fashion and feminism, glamour took a beating,” read the show notes. “Right now, everyone’s talking about fashion that empowers women, but how exactly does that work?”
Max Mara’s creative director, Ian Griffiths, showed us his answer to that question with his Politics of Glamour collection, which, according to fashion industry trade paper WWD, had its inspirational roots in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s red Max Mara coat that recently became a meme-making political power-dressing moment.
The result was a clothing-as-armor approach guaranteed to channel your inner boss lady; a silhouette that was strong at the shoulders, boxier and wider in the leg (wide-leg mania is running rampant; recent examples include both Gucci and Fendi); and a color palette grounded in no-nonsense solid shades of camel, black and white with some checks and faux zebra stripes in the mix as well.
The most eye-catching pieces were the ones sporting multiple zippered pockets; boxy dresses and jackets; cargo skirts and utility vests, the last of which had large faux croc pouches falling at the front of each hip like saddlebags of yore.
That plethora of pocketry — combined with the zebra prints and the crocodile-textured leathers — gave the collection a bit of a safari vibe we have a hard time seeing in the halls of power.
That being said, if there’s a successor to Pelosi’s red coat in the fall and winter collection, it’s probably the two sharp-looking capes — one camel-colored and one black — that are part super-hero, part glamour and all “we mean business.”
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