Brims, Bonnets + The Riviera. Max Mara’s Dedication To A Forgotten Muse

2022-09-24 08:43:33 By : Mr. John Yan

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MILAN, ITALY: When Australian model Adut Akech drifted atop the cloud-like runway at today’s Max Mara show, camera clicks almost superseded the piano-heavy soundtrack. Her white gown – long, languid, backless and sliding into pools of godets – was teamed with a black, wide-brimmed sun hat, flicked upwards at the front. I could give you even more description but to truly appreciate this visual is to understand Max Mara’s Spring/Summer 2023 muse: Renée Perle.

Legend has it when the iconic French photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue spotted the tall and extremely chic model, Perle, on the streets of Paris in 1930, he instantly fell in love with her. Coquettishly hiding under a wide, elegant hat – with kohl-rimmed eyes and a perfectly painted Cupid’s bow – Lartigue reportedly nicknamed her “parasol”. Despite the photographer being married at the time, the pair embarked on a two-year love affair in the South Of France where he documented his mistress’ Riviera style. No one is too sure what happened to Perle once the affair ended in 1932. But today, at Piazza Affari in Milano, Max Mara brought the lover behind the lens to the forefront of its SS23 fashion show “The Blue Horizon”.

With a cerulean blue backdrop – a shade exclusive to the French Riviera – backless tanks, voluminous canvas sailor pants, tailored shorts, and undyed linen skirts with raw fringed hems floated down the white runway. Bonnets – another nod to Perle’s 30s style and the many portraits of her captured by Lartigue – were a standout and styled with dresses, pant-and-blouse-combos and… coats. Yes, Max Mara’s classic architectonic coats were a part of this Riviera collection – in Mediterranean blues, lawn green and sunshine yellow.

Presented with ease, sophistication and elegance, the Italian luxuriate also paid tribute to Eileen Gray, a famous architect who built E1027, a seaside villa for herself and her lover in France in the late 20s.

“They were assiduous chroniclers, those habitués of the Riviera,” reads the show notes. “But apart from the photographs, Perle is voiceless and unrecorded. Did she and Eileen Gray ever meet? Max Mara imagines that they did; two women with a shared vision of modernity stepping out onto the E1027 terrace. Blinking in the morning light, we see them raise their smiling faces to meet the glittering blue horizon.”

What a romantic thought. As I exit the show, I see the ever-chic Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti, Max Mara’s regional retail manager and global brand ambassador. Surrounded by a group of women in impeccably-tailored suits, Prezioso Maramotti is holding a lively conversation. I can see her doing the same at E1027, probably alongside Perle and Gray in another lifetime, and most definitely in a wide-brimmed hat.

Take a look at some of the highlights from the show:

topics: Milan Fashion Week, mfw, Max Mara, Max Mara Spring Summer 2023, Trending