Lee Miller, the multitalented American model turned photojournalist who became a war correspondent for Vogue in the ’40s, inspired the Max Mara Pre-Fall 2021 collection. For her work as a reporter on the battlefields she obviously dressed in no-nonsense mannish military attire, while managing to keep her glam appeal intact. Riffing on this contrast, and drawing a parallel between the uniforms she wore on the war front and the urban uniforms Max Mara provides women for their daily lives today, Ian Griffiths worked around a central theme he called combat tailoring.
The theme was translated into a series of tailored pieces in grisaille or Prince of Wales, which combined the utilitarian with the efficiently elegant—slightly oversized yet sharp-cut blazers worn with capacious side-pocketed drawstring cargo pants or with matching short fluttering skirts; dusters in light double-faced wool and roomy trench coats in silver-gray techno taffeta with a metallic shine; slender all-in-ones with a classy tailored edge.
Miller’s more glamorous side was referenced in couture-inspired occasion dresses and blouses in polka-dotted silk gazar or in luminous fil coupé—different-scale spots apparently being one of her favorite motifs. Bows, big gathered sleeves, and flourishes added a dash of drama.
Griffiths is probably to be believed—getting dressed to the nines to meet with colleagues at the coffee machine will be our new normal. Max Mara, with its clever mix of practicality and sophistication, has always provided women with plenty of smart options for the everyday.