Max Mara’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection made a significant splash at Milan Fashion Week, setting the tone for the second day with a unique blend of workwear aesthetics while staying true to its distinctive style codes. This morning’s runway display showcased a wardrobe that exuded a casual and sophisticated vibe, effortlessly combining denim, leather, lightweight textures, and utility-focused details in a palette of deep blue, ecru, and soft pastel shades.

At the heart of this collection was the influence of Vita Sackville-West, a renowned British writer from the 1930s and 1940s, affectionately known as the “Lady of the Garden” due to her botanical-themed writings. Her famous Sissinghurst garden served as the inspiration for the striking floral prints that adorned the Spring/Summer 2023 collection. However, the show’s moodboard also drew heavily from Sackville-West’s 1944 volume, “Women’s Land Army,” which depicted the English women who came together during those years to work the land and support the nation during World War II.

The Land Girls’ jodhpur pants, classic workwear pieces, and utilitarian jumpsuits provided the foundation for impeccably tailored trench coats cinched at the waist with natural leather belts, jumpsuits worn over oversized shirts, and flowing chiffon dresses with gabardine shoulder straps. This aesthetic was characterized by well-proportioned silhouettes, expandable pockets, reinforced stitching, and a vibrant color palette that ranged from bright pinks to earthy tones and deep blues.

Neutral shades like gray, sand, and light yellow made appearances, particularly on ultra-short knit shorts and open-back dresses reminiscent of gardening aprons. Notable accessories included mini crossbody bags, canvas tote bags with reinforced handles, and strappy sandals with bold heels suitable for all-day wear.

The finale featured a series of minimalist black and white looks, emphasizing the brand’s longstanding commitment to understated luxury.

The collection took inspiration from the Women’s Land Army, a group of up to 80,000 women recruited during World War II to contribute to farming while men were at war. These women played crucial roles in the war effort, laying the groundwork for women’s participation in the workforce.

Max Mara’s interpretation of this inspiration was a refined take on workwear, featuring garments like long Don-style work jackets, backless apron-front pencil dresses, double-kneed work pants, and shirt-skirts with bellows pockets and epaulettes, all in various shades of cotton dyed to resemble Bill Cunningham’s iconic bleu de travail. The color palette transitioned to rosy pinks, with patch-pocketed hot pants, tunics, and rompers. The collection also showcased leather-edged canvas gardening bags and bridle-leather binocular cases, complementing high-waisted green blousons and cotton wide-lapel coats.

As the show progressed, autumnal shades and classic camel hues made their appearance, with hotpants and work jackets reimagined as knits and the iconic camel coat rendered in generously voluminous satin-finished fabric. The collection expanded its horizons with jodhpur pants, a parachute-strapped corset, and an officer’s tunic reminiscent of Pacific-theater US military uniforms. Finally, a series of monochrome chintz looks brought this rich Max Mara showcase to a close.

This Spring/Summer 2024 collection, reminiscent of 1940s Ipswich with an Emilia Romagna twist, clearly resonated with Ian Griffiths, reflecting his deep passion for gardening and a keen eye for luxurious utilitarian fashion. Max Mara once again demonstrated its ability to blend history, utility, and sophistication in a single captivating runway presentation.

Creative Director: Ian Griffiths

Fashion Editor/Stylist: Tonne Goodman

Hair Stylist: Odile Gilbert

Casting Directors: Giulia MassulloPiergiorgio Del Moro

Models: Abény NhialAdele AldighieriAlaato JazyperAmelia GrayAngelina KendallAnne-Catherine LacroixAnnemary AderibigbeApolline Rocco FohrerAshanti HildrethCapucine ClowesCaroline TrentiniCatarina GuedesCelina RalphCeline VivodChaima AmezianeDaria StrokousDevyn GarciaFelice Nova NoordhoffGreta BultmannHe CongHejia LiIda HeinerImaan HammamJeanne CadieuJulie HoomansKarolina SpakowskiKiki WillemsLakshmi MenonLoli BahiaMalika LoubackMariacarla BosconoMarte Mei van HaasterMel Van RoemburgMika SchneiderMona TougaardNora AttalRachel MarxRebecca Leigh LongendykeSui HeTara FallaVeronika KunzVictoria FawoleVivienne Rohner