The fashion realm finds its muse in unexpected places. For the Spring/Summer 2024 collection at Max Mara, it was the intrepid women from the annals of history who stepped forward to support their nation during its most trying times – the Women’s Land Army. These women, up to 80,000 strong, traded the comforts of home for the rough terrains of agriculture while the men marched to war. Not just symbols of resilience and bravery, they also laid the foundation for the modern woman’s rightful place in the workforce.
Ian Griffiths, the creative force behind Max Mara’s latest collection, crafts a tribute that seamlessly merges this historic gravitas with the spirit of contemporary femininity. Instead of drawing overtly from the rusticity of the Land Girls, Griffiths envisions a sophisticated rendition, cultivating a luxuriously utilitarian wardrobe. Picture this: Phoebe Waller-Bridge morphs into a sophisticated gardener, walking through the illustrious gardens of Sissinghurst, her elegance untouched by the ruggedness of the task.
The collection encapsulates the hardiness of workwear, ranging from long work jackets in hues reminiscent of Bill Cunningham’s bleu de travail to the alluringly backless apron-front pencil dresses. Transitioning from the sturdy to the delicate, we see a delightful splash of rosy pinks, patch-pocketed hot pants paired under tunics, and rompers that exude an airy charm. Griffiths’ homage to the Land Girls is subtle yet profound, as seen in wide-gauge knit jerseys, adorned with irregular cotton patches; a nod to the make-do-and-mend ethos that dominated wartime Britain.
While the Max Mara ethos stays rooted in their heritage-specialism coat, the Spring/Summer 2024 collection brings in a gust of fresh wind. From high-waisted green blousons to washed cotton wide-lapel varieties, the brand redefines its identity while remaining true to its core. The transition towards autumnal shades signals the brand’s versatility, culminating in the house’s quintessential camel coat, now envisioned in a luxuriant satin finish.
Griffiths, with his meticulous attention to detail, doesn’t stop at merely clothing. The leather-edged canvas gardening bags and bridle-leather binocular cases are accessories that, while steeped in history, align perfectly with today’s woman.
The Spring/Summer 2024 collection, while echoing the military utilitarian style that has recurrently influenced women’s fashion, brings with it a vibrancy and freshness. The slender, leggy aesthetic punctuated by pencil skirts, high-heeled sandals, and the season’s first breakout trend, HotPants, creates a visual spectacle.
©Photo: Max Mara