Times have certainly changed. Diverting from the male-dominated territory, more women are assuming central roles in spy fictions — the likes of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Emmy-winning “Killing Eve” (starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer) and the upcoming Bond 25 movie, of which script Waller-Bridge will be co-writing, with the promise that it will “treat women properly.”
“Fiction needs more female spies,” says British feminist writer Natasha Walter. “After all, women are trained to keep secrets.” This line from Walter was what Max Mara creative director Ian Griffiths decided to open with for his Spring/Summer ’20 show notes. Like how Walter’s subversive book, “A Quiet Life”, places a woman in the thick of a spy thriller, Griffiths, too, dreams of dressing an espionage’s female protagonist. His latest collection was, in fact, an imagined wardrobe for an imagined female-led 007 flick.
Debuted at Milan Fashion Week, Griffiths’s idea was to work with familiar, hackneyed tropes — and elevate them. Though the collection’s clothes would seamlessly fit into the archetypal scenes of a Bond film, they packed a punch of upending twists: sweeping trenchcoats with knee-grazing shorts and knee socks; multi-pocketed shirts in the soft pastel shades of pink and blue; structured silk dresses that cascade over same-hued high boots. There was also a tongue-in-cheek jab at the tired gender stereotyping of a man on a mission: the military tone-on-tone three-piece suiting, replete with epaulets, waistcoats, giant utility pockets and ties, as worn by Gigi Hadid, Candice Swanepoel and Doutzen Kroes, who all sported side fishtail braids.
The Max Mara spy is, rightfully, her own leading lady. Above, some of the show’s best moments.
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