By Drew Taylor
Max Mara cited the Bauhaus movement as inspiration for the house’s fall/winter collection, with its focus on elegance, practicality, and streamlined modernity.
The show opened with a series of warm and fuzzy looks—in cozy camel cashmere and fur that recalled your favorite childhood teddybear, only way more chic—that were perfect for beating the winter chill. As always, smart and stylish layering reigned supreme, with sporty sneakers adding an urban edge to oversized sweaters and luxe toppers. The house kept its extensive outerwear offerings fresh by playing with textures and mixing materials, and through the use of interesting fabric treatments (some knits donned a dusting of Lurex for a hit of sparkle). Oscar-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld, the recipient of the house’s Women in Film Max Mara Face of the Future Award, sat pretty in the front row.
Fendi brought new meaning to the term “fun fur” with a pelt-happy collection that incorporated mink and fox fur at every turn, from accessories (on bags, shoes, and yes, sunglasses), to trimming on tailored black dresses, and even woven into the models’ hair in fuzzy faux-hawks. Bright pops of color like fuchsia and electric orange, architectural silhouettes, and distinctive details like fringe, micro-sequins and stripes added to the house’s madcap mix.
In between shows, I popped in to a preview of Casadei’s lust-inspiring fall shoe offerings. Among the standouts: Gilded etched heels, lots of sleek black, and a new emphasis on flats for a house that’s known for its towering silhouettes. The label’s latest collaboration with Prabal Gurung was also on display (the haute gladiator boots are sure to be at the top of many an editor’s wish list next season).
If fellow Italian power player Gucci was channeling ‘40s screen sirens, Prada was all about ‘50s-era Hitchcock blondes in full-skirted suits, albeit with a modern edge—in the form of lug-soled shoes, touches of metallic leather, and an emphasis on exotic skins (often in saturated colors). The thoughtful styling—the models’ hair was wet and worn loose, while dresses and sweaters slouched accidentally-on-purpose off their shoulders—made for an effortless, youthful look that felt more sexy than Stepford wife. As usual, there was an abundance of accessories to covet: Metallic and exotic skin platform sandals, bowler bags in gingham and tweed, and oversized clutches with rounded edges perfect for daytime wear.