Max Mara’s Pre-Fall collection ‘Monopolis’ was debuted on December 15th 2016 in collaboration with Beijing based artist Liu Wei. The Shanghai Convention Centre was the setting for the show’s fusion of modern cityscape and sophisticated, traditional artistry. The grey and towering sculptures appearing on the runway evoked images of the concrete jungle and helped to create the initial impression of futurism, which when combined with the haunting soundtrack by Johnny Dynell set the tone of a truly debonair and innovative show. Showcasing the relentless energy of an urban landscape, Mara presented a show that explored the confusion and agitation of a growing hyper-city: a robust urbane existence. According to the label’s creative director, Ian Griffith, the show imagined a space where ‘all of the world’s great conurbations merged’, most notably presented through the dynamic cuts and myriad of differing textural patterns.
The capsule collection featured 11 Limited Edition pieces, inspired by Liu’s brazen and gritty concept of the city, while still maintaining Mara’s fantastical construct of the cosmopolitan woman. 3 items stuck out to me as truly demonstrating the rawness of the label’s vision:
The somewhat organic print, made more noticeable by the laser technique embroidery demonstrates a magnetic and ultra-modern vibe. With the collection being described as an embodiment of ‘urban fragments, the contrasting white and camel shapes acts as a visual representation of this new aesthetic. The oversized element gives the piece a more informal feel, yet the straight cut sleeves adds a somewhat mechanical layer.
Again the two-tone design works with the geometric print to give a futuristic feel. This cardigan is also reversible, therefore an ideal item for the diligent business woman that the collection envisions. The reversed black shows off the white and somewhat messy stitching, flaunting the electrifying style of the cityscape.
Paired with a host of different skirts and trousers within the collection, most notably high-waisted with a thick black belt, this masculine-cut shirt features a mismatch of sketched designs which reminds me of a rough archetypal plan. The simplicity gives a sense of luxury but at the same time plays this down through the sketched print. This piece sums up Griffith’s view on how people want to be today: glamour but not ‘as if they were trying to be perfect.’
The clothes within this collection ooze the cutting-edge elegance and glamour that dominate metropolitan fashion today; the sentiment is best summed up by Griffith, who believes that the modern metropolitan space is “a place where you need to be, where you can succeed, where you feel like you’re able to conquer.”