our advantage, so we remain in a beautiful world seeing through the rose spectacles and, as a result, protect our minds and sooth the soul. On the other hand, the protective glass dome creates a state of oblivion, which, to me, is one of the first sure steps towards degradation.
Ironically, whether we are talking about a problem or disease, the signs are always present and it is up to us to spot them and act accordingly. So why don't we? Why, being supposedly intelligent human beings, we create conflicts when and where they aren't really necessary and yet do our best to avoid the ones that require immediate attention?
I am guilty of it, too, mind you. When I first saw Kim K (yes, the woman who made her initial $65M fortune when in 2006 her sex tape was "incidentally" shared for all to see) wearing a Max Mara Manuela coat, it didn't register as a warning sign, but an attempt to adopt an iconic and very stylish piece of clothing to appear classy and sophisticated. Was I oblivious to things yet to come? Possibly. When Gigi Hadid made to look like Marilyn and, slap in the face, new fashion icon, opened Max Mara FW15 show, I felt a slight discomfort in my gut, but chose to ignore it... Even worse, I chose to close my eyes at the fact that the girl became the new face of the brand (that once casted Angelica Huston, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Shalom Harlow and Tatjana Patitz as their leading ladies) starring in a campaign where the quality of the model matched the visual impact of the photos.
I guess, one of the reasons being that seeing a face attached to a coat or dress I loved would not stop me from buying or dreaming of the garment itself. Besides I have never considered the tiniest possibility that Max Mara, one of the top brands build on the idea of "a classic as an absolute" and made famous by the quality and refined elegance of their iconic coats, the brand whose founder "believes in education" would succumb to the "Kim effect" and bring the company down to her and Gigi level.
When did it all blow up for me? Perhaps, the spark was set with the "What shall we do with the drunken sailor?" tune that accompanied the Spring/Summer 2016 collection and Max Mara's Ian Griffiths saying that "Naive is the new sophisticated..." It was teeth grinding, but it was Max Mara, the love of my life, so I treated it the way you'd do a friend uffering with a little hangover.
The explosion, the unlikely, unforeseen, but as painful as a punch in the stomach, explosion finally happened two days ago as I browsed the photos of Max Mara Resort 2016 full of elements that did feel like the Max Mara at all - the net tops, studs, tights pulled up to be visible (Carine-style), transparency in all the unlikely places...
The answer to my silent question was there, too. Laid out in a single sentence before my eyes it read that Griffiths turned to Kim Kardashian and Gigi Hadid as well as their fans as "a new generation of potential clients" and "had these future customers in mind when designing the collection". Frankly, I don't know what would be worse than that? Perhaps, admitting that you've just been diagnosed with an STD because, as far as I am concerned, the Kim effect is pretty much the same thing and, unfortunately, very difficult to treat once it gets into your (brand) DNA. This time it wasn't just about celebrities wearing the brand (which as much as I hate it, I can still swallow being loyal to Max Mara like a faithful pup), but the brand designing for celebrities that I have no respect for.
In her 2011 interview to Independent Marie Giulia Prezioso Maramotti said that Max Mara codes are "not just about being successful; it is the ethics of an entrepreneur, quality and never wanting to let down (brands) customers." Makes you wonder, doesn't it? It also makes me think of Diors quote that not every fashion is made to be accessible to everyone and I sincerely believe that Max Mara should be one of those houses - and not a brand that tries to please a crowd of million zeros following girls made famous thanks to a sex tape or her father's fortune.
If this is Max Mara portrait of a (new) woman - would you still dream of being one?
Photo source: Flavia de Oliveira in Bell de Jour / Elle Russia November 2009 (photography: Mario Sierra, styling: Imaculada Jimenez), Christy Turlington in Max Mara 1995 campaign photographed by Max Vadukul, Gigi Hadid in Max Mara Fall/Winter 2015 campaign photographed by Anthony Maule, Max Mara Pre-Fall 2016 via vogue.com