Why Max Mara’s Resort collection is a fashion gamechanger

Marlene Dietrich meets David Bowie
When two icons get together, the world sits up. At the time of the runway show for this collection, Max Mara’s creative director Ian Griffiths posted black and white images of both Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie on his Instagram account with the caption: “The muse for Max Mara Resort 2020 was Marlene Bowie. Or was it David Dietrich?” Either way, the collection is a celebration of two razor-sharp style revolutionaries, both of whom spent part of their lives in Berlin. Although born decades apart, both were pioneers in challenging traditional gender norms – Dietrich by making men’s trouser suits absurdly glamorous, Bowie by constantly bending all the rules of masculine and feminine. You can see the influence of both in the flared, neat-waisted tailoring silhouettes and the sweeping glamour that infuses exquisite sharp-shouldered suits, wide-legged trousers and tightly belted trench coats. In Dietrich-esque tuxedos and Bowie-inspired capes, Marlene Bowie/David Dietrich lives on.

Max Mara creative director Ian Griffiths at the Berlin catwalk show

A model at Max Mara’s Berlin show

Backstage at Max Mara’s 2019 Berlin show

From Berlin, with love
Max Mara may be a distinguished Italian fashion house, but Griffiths has always been a huge fan of Berlin, and this collection was inspired by the German capital’s cultural legacy in the 20thcentury – including Bauhaus, the Weimar era, Bob Fosse’s Cabaret and the icons who made the dynamic city their home. In the year of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the catwalk show was the first to ever take place in the stunning Neues museum, which was destroyed in the second world war and restored by the British architect David Chipperfield, reopening in 2009. The stunning marble and cement staircase provided a fitting backdrop for a collection that also celebrated the architectural thinking behind Max Mara’s clothing. The tufted lines of fringing on the edges of pockets and hems add dramatic detail to the tailored pieces and trench coats. So too does the textured fil coupé (cut threads) technique borrowed from haute couture and used for high-shouldered capes, evening dresses and long skirts in blood red and chocolate brown, colours inspired by the bronze age and primitive artefacts in the museum. The gleam of ancient metal is also woven into fabrics that look handmade, and provides a counterpoint to the Max Mara signatures – impeccable cashmere and pristine wool.

A detail from the Max Mara 2019 collection

Backstage at Max Mara’s 2019 Berlin show

Max Mara’s 2019 Berlin show


Unparalleled outerwear
Max Mara is famous for its distinctive, crafted-to-perfection outerwear, such as the legendary 101801 coat – a double-breasted cashmere design that comes in six colours and is unchanged since its debut in 1981. But each season, the house continues to produce more modern classics. For this collection, it is the Berlin coat – a homage to the city – in immaculate chalky white and strictly tailored in the style of the dynamic coats worn by Marlene Dietrich, the shoulders further emphasised by an embellishment inspired by Meissen – the German porcelain factory, whose archive Griffiths and his team visited for research. The team fell in love with the porcelain in its milky-white natural state and the house’s signature white snowball blossoms – given by August III to his lover, Maria Josepha, in 1739, which appear on the coat. The contrast of the strong silhouette and the delicacy of the porcelain embellishment perfectly epitomises the Max Mara aesthetic in one unique piece of outerwear. Worn in the catwalk show by the German performer Ute Lemper with the mannish matching chalk-white, press-pleated and fringed trousers, this is the ultimate Berlin look.

ENDOM 77C6313 1

A colour palette to dye for
A sandy palette is always a starting point for the house whose camel coats are the most famous in the world. And so for the catwalk show a golden-beige belted cashmere trench coat with tonal roll neck and trousers opened the Max Mara Resort 2020 collection, before going on to sing along a scale of notes that numbered palest pink, peach, oatmeal, honey, ivory and shimmering platinum, before diving into dramatic rich browns and red, slate and blue greys and eventually pure white. It is a considered spectrum that can take you from day to evening, through autumn and winter and into the start of spring.

Shop the Max Mara Resort 2020 collection at


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more