Following a stellar Studio 54 theme show from Fendi yesterday (Kim Jones’ first in-person runway since he joined the label) and an animal print Cavalli bonanza held in the spectacular Palazzo Clerici last night, day two if Milan Fashion Week kicked off this morning with an altogether more studious feel.
Inviting guests to take deckchair seats in the main hall of the stunning new Luigi Bocconi University building in the South of the city, named by the World Architecture Festival as World Building of the Year, MaxMara delivered a reserved and practical vision for our summer 22 working wardrobes – albeit with a lot of leg.
Inspiration came from French writer Francoise Sagan (real name Françoise Quoirez) and her debut novel novel Bonjour Tristesse, about a schoolgirl’s summer romance, which scandalised French society and made its 18-year-old author famous.
Sagan, a rebellious teenager who was twice expelled from school and failed her baccalauréat, came of age in the beatnik era – a short-lived but distinct movement of the 1950s in which some of the most revered figures of 21st century counterculture (among them Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg) channelled their frustration with the materialism that flourished in the postwar years into poetry, novels and art.
The utilitarian and resolutely un-flashy beatnik approach to dressing, which Sagan adopted living in Paris in her 20s, was seen in the collection’s workwear classics; a fisherman’s smock in buttercup buttery leather, canvas jackets and mechanics overalls reimagined in crisp gabardine with contrast top stitching. Even MaxMara’s famous cashmere coats came in shorter bum-skimming hemlines and with a pared-back utilitarian aesthetic.
Elsewhere Sagan’s naughty teenager status was felt via leather schoolgirl sandals with chunky crêpe platform soles, tank tops and an indigo denim short suit with matching tie. Accessorising leather bombers, mesh shift dresses and micro shorts were janitor-like key chains slung about hips and across chests.
In case there was any doubt, MaxMara has officially decreed the mini skirt the hemline of summer 22, with every other look in the show a micro mini skirt or dress – including the indigo denim mini with contrast topstitching Gigi Hadid wore with an itty bitty crop top and oversized jacket to close the show.