The weather in Milan this morning might be of that gloriously mild and sunny mid-September variety, but the Max Mara SS23 show transported its guests to the city’s long, hot and sweaty months from June to August, when the well-heeled Milanese traditionally shuttered their grand villas and flocked (as many still do) to the cooler climes of the Italian Riviera.
Max Mara’s Riviera chic centred on a minimal, understatedly luxurious aesthetic: hemlines were long, the palette muted and lines clean. Inspired by the wardrobe of Renée Perle, model and muse of the famous French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue, creative director Ian Griffiths made the case for voluminous canvas sailor trousers, ankle-pooling linen maxi skirts, ice cream coloured leather short suits and backless tank tops.
The first looks came in head-to-toe lino greggio, an unprocessed, un-dyed linen that looks a lot like hemp, but felt far more haute than hippie. Sundowners glamour was served in black floral organza halterneck tops and dresses with giant trailing bows. Giant face-obscuring sunhats and large raffia beach bags felt Insta-ready, while cotton swimming caps and retro beach playsuits hinted at the Italian Riviera’s 1930s heyday.
The stellar coats for which the house is revered this season came belted, invoking beach robes, or in wetsuit-like neoprene.
Max Mara is a brand loved by those who prefer an if you know you know glamour. And certainly today’s wardrobe, designed to segue from city to holiday home (but which one?), nailed the stealth wealth mantra.
The show’s location however, in the Palazzo Mezzanotte, the seat of the Italian stock exchange, somewhat gave the game away.