Selma Lagerlöf, who in 1909 was the first woman to win the Nobel prize for Literature was the muse as the brand headed north to Stockholm’s City Hall for its Resort show. Completed in 1923, the building is an architectural wonder blending folksy charm, clean lines and luxurious materials, synonymous with Scandi style.
The designer found plenty of parallels between Max Mara and Swedish design. “There’s a sense of accessibility in Swedish design. It is designed for anyone who wants to use it and so is Max Mara,” he explained, before the show.
Along with Scandinavia’s democratic modernism, Griffiths also tapped into the darker folkloric aspects of Nordic culture, referencing the wildflower festooned Midsommar festival which celebrates the longest day, as well as a host of forthright, female Scandinavian references from Vikings and their equal opportunity pillaging, to Queen Charlotte of Sweden (described as a “troublesome lesbian”) and Ibsen heroines intent breaking free of their stifling bourgeois existence. “But I’m not designing a BBC costume drama,” said Griffiths before the show. “You realise you have to focus on real clothes.”
He took the twee out of folksy flower crowns, floral prints and smocks giving them a pared back, monochrome and linear treatment, in tune with modern Scandi aesthetics. His cream and black colour palette kept it cool and modern, as did easy sporty pieces like the floral embroidered boxers and billowing sheer shirts and smock dresses.
“I always aim to bring a certain desire for effortlessness. There’s something about Max Mara , which allows you to put something on and then forget about it,” explained the designer.
The house’s famous coats were embellished with folksy studs and tassels which played to the growing number of younger customers flocking to the brand for statement runway looks. The show ended with a series of fluttering, light, wildflower print and embroidered pieces which signalled the brand’s desire to offer elegant evening options alongside its signature coats and tailoring.
“I think the general direction is more design content, but never abandoning Max Mara’s wearability or the rigour,” said Griffiths. “And there’s the fact that you can take any piece from any collection, and you should be able to wear it in five years time or 10 years.”
Photography courtesy of Max Mara.