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In Milan, a Max Mara Espionage

By Bianca Husodo

 
Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

For Max Mara’s finale, a flank of models — including the Hadid sisters, Joan Smalls, Kaia Gerber, Doutzen Kroes, Fei Fei Sun — marched down in kepi hats, monochromatic dresses and boots that came in a single hue.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

Opening the show were Candice Swanepoel, Gigi Hadid and Doutzen Kroes — dressed in sharp utilitarian grey suiting.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

Bella Hadid in a light grey knee-length trenchcoat and matching tapered trousers.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

Ajok dressed in the show’s running military grey theme. Her pocket-replete look was topped off with a kepi hat.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

 Kris Gikaite in powder blue leather co-ords.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

Fei Fei Sun in a lilac iteration of the collection’s multi-pocketed shirt.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

The swinging pendulum of proportions was explored through accessories. Here, Sora Choi toted the new nano Whitney bag.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

The collection also introduced an ultra-big tote rendition of the Whitney bag.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

Mona Tougaard in an all-camel number.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

Continuing the camel streak was Faretta in a mini trenchcoat.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

Ugbad and Maria Miguel’s black-and-white polka-dot looks broke the preceding monochrome repetitions.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

The back of a fluid white reefer, modelled by Grace Hertzel.

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Max Mara Spring/Summer ’20

Another trio — Bente Oort, Ajok, Mona Tougaard — ushered in a flurry of the show’s closing pastel-tinted evening looks.

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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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