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Max Mara’s “The Politics of Glamour”: A Welcome Revival of ‘80s Power Dressing

courtesy of Max Mara

Rejoice – padded shoulders are back. Max Mara delivered, during the Milan fashion week, a flawless runway show for Fall Winter 2019 that epitomized the allure of high power dressing in the era of female empowerment. Held in the modernist main atrium of Bocconi University, the business school a symbolic setting in itself, the label famed for it’s iconic, high-end coats offered up a compelling collection of bold silhouettes and boss tailoring modeled by a strong set of women with the right attitude.

The show, aptly titled ‘The Politics of Glamour’, perhaps took its name after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wore that red Max Mara coat. Led by Creative Director and English man Ian Griffiths for the past three decades, the new collection was all about luxury business attire made glamorous; make way for the Lady Bosses. Certainly, power dressing has been done time and time before, but Griffiths’ modern resurgence of the look consists of wearable, staple pieces able to withstand passing trends, maintaining the signature elegance of the brand.

courtesy of Max Mara

After referencing ‘90s supermodel Linda Evangelista (whose campaigns were said to have been pinned on the mood board backstage) in one of its media releases after the show, the fashion house went on to ask, “right now, everyone’s talking about fashion that empowers women, but how exactly does that work? Max Mara says it’s all about clothes that allow you to shine. Glamour is the magic ingredient that puts the power into power dressing.”

All of the big names of the current moment were there; Bella Hadid, Irina Shayk and Kaia Gerber to name just a few. Hair was swept back from the face to reveal subdued, natural-looking makeup using shades of nude perfect for the Fall, whilst cat-eye glasses provided an extra dash of sex appeal for some.

courtesy of @maxmara Instagram

Griffiths has stated, “men are restricted by conventions of dress and women aren’t. There is a whole host of different personae and tricks women can use to empower themselves.” Amongst these tricks, much of the magic was in the impeccable tailoring and the effective use of layering; cape-like coats styled over cashmere turtlenecks; broad-shouldered jackets combined with skirts that were just long enough… whilst the outwear was spacious, the underneath layering was tight and subtly displayed the curves without the slightest hint of skin-bearing. Ever tasteful, Max Mara.

Generally, the color palette was muted, comprising of sandy neutrals, browns and blacks - typical of the classic and conservative style in Northern Italy. However, the return of the iconic teddy bear coat in striking cyan, maize yellow and a daring turquoise was pure eighties pomp.

courtesy of @maxmara Instagram

Knee-high boots reminiscent of the nineties commanded further attention (as every woman knows) whilst elevating some of the softer outfits to appearing more dominant. Handbags were harnessed around models necks as a bold move with opinions divided on whether it’ll catch on, but sensible nonetheless.

courtesy of @maxmara Instagram

There were also animal prints - zebra and giraffe – and cosy knitwear that conveyed comfort amidst the boxy silhouettes (without the use of real fur).Oversized sweaters and skirts that appeared to be cut from mens trousers, tweed, check, pockets, zips and gilets; utility wear made sophisticated.

courtesy of @maxmara Instagram

Aspiring, powerful women ready to get the job done take heed – it’s a fact that no one does that classic, expert tailoring quite like Max Mara. Call an investment in one of these garments an investment in your career.

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Alys Jackman

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