23 Sep 2022 By AWAY IN STYLE



Max Mara Spring-Summer 2023

Hong Kong: From April to September, when the aristocrats closed their grand villas, bohemians of ever􏰀 t􏰀pe flocked to the Riviera. Things were bound to happen when the likes of F. Scott Fit􏰁gerald, Picasso and Stravinsk􏰀 rubbed shoulders. But when Zelda Fit􏰁gerald, Dora Maar and Bronislava Nijinska, not to mention Doroth􏰀 Parker, Jos􏰂phine Baker and Isadora Duncan joined in, women were certain to make the leap from muse to maestro.

On sun-soaked beaches, masterpieces were conceived, manifestos thrashed out and a timeless look was forged: Riviera st􏰀le. No one wore it better than Ren􏰂e Perle. Classified in the histor􏰀 books as the silent muse and lover of photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue, she features in his most memorable pictures. She deserves a bigger credit; the kohl-rimmed e􏰀es, the perfectl􏰀 painted Cupid􏰃s bow, the finger waved hair are so intrinsicall􏰀 he􏰄. So too the archet􏰀pal looks which are the backbone of Max Mara􏰃s collection; backless tanks, voluminous canvas sailor pants, flopp􏰀 wide-brimmed sun hats and long, languid skirts which hug the hip then slide into pools of godets. She painted hundreds of na􏰅f self portraits. The􏰀 were dismissed as daubs b􏰀 the art historians but arguabl􏰀 the􏰀 point to a remarkable creative talent; her 􏰆e􏰇􏰈􏰄e was her image.

As Ren􏰂e Perle personifies the fashion, so Eileen Gra􏰀 personifies the architecture. At Roquebrune-Cap-Martin Gra􏰀 built E1027, a seaside villa for herself and her lover, showcasing her uniquel􏰀 feminine take on modernism. 􏰉The povert􏰀 of modern architecture stems from the atroph􏰀 of sensualit􏰀􏰊, she said. Challenging the rigid rectilinearit􏰀 of the masculine masters, Gra􏰀􏰃s floorplan incorporates the occasional curve. Max Mara follows suit with sinuous bias cutting and the brave new femininit􏰀 also manifests itself in extravagant organ􏰁a bows printed with flowers in Perlesque 􏰋a􏰄􏰌 􏰈e􏰄nac􏰇lai􏰄e􏰃 st􏰀le.

E1027 has a hint of the handmade, a reminder that this is a home for a woman and a man, not a machine. At Max Mara each piece is designed not just to be worn, but to be lived in. To wit, Max Mara presents a series of total looks in lin􏰆 g􏰄eggi􏰆 – unprocessed, und􏰀ed linen that looks like burlap, sometimes with raw fringed hems. And Max Mara􏰃s classic architectonic coats take on the soft allure of sun-bleached beach robes. Gra􏰀􏰃s 􏰋architecture for inner life􏰃 features accents in a particular shade of ink􏰀 Mediterranean blue that stirs the heart; Max Mara presents its take on washed cotton drill ble􏰇 de 􏰌􏰄a􏰈ail in the same evocative colour.

The􏰀 were assiduous chroniclers, those habi􏰌􏰇􏰂􏰍 of the Riviera. But apart from the photographs, Perle is voiceless and unrecorded. Did she and Eileen Gra􏰀 ever meet? Max Mara imagines that the􏰀 did; two women with a shared vision of modernit􏰀 stepping out onto the E1027 terrace. Blinking in the morning light, we see them raise their smiling faces to meet the glittering blue hori􏰁on.

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Max Mara