At Max Mara for Spring/Summer 2017, the palm-leaf printed invitation and jungle-inspired set gave clues to the show’s backstory, with “lush leaves pushing through an urban landscape” that translated directly onto the runway by way of tropical separates, monochrome athleisure-wear, and crisp linen suiting. The muse this season was Italian-born and educated architect, Lina Bo Bardi, whose career was actually established in Brazil. The fusion of Brazilian tropics and Italian sportswear was a simple proposition, informed by Bo Bardi’s desire to juxtapose modernist designs against São Paulo’s rainforests.
With cinched waists and taut, flattering construction, the streamlined silhouette looked great from a multitude of angles. Gigi Hadid led a party of sporty models in a leaf-printed jumpsuit, which was shown in grayscale with a touch of colored trim along the zipper. Max Mara’s tropical print was also used on slim bombers, track suits, leotards, and parkas, with monochrome versions offered in both black and an array of energetic primary colors. These athleisure-minded pieces reminded us very much of the kind of clothes that Hadid is famed for donning for a day about town, and spoke to her power as a style influencer. At times, Max Mara departed from its fluid silhouette to include bulkier pieces, like a suede patchwork sweatshirt, and fuzzy sweaters emblazoned with lemurs, parrots, and animal patterns.
Bo Bardi’s architectural designs were aimed at the interaction between man-made buildings and their surroundings, creating spaces where human life and nature can co-exist – a reminder of how fashion fits into the urban landscape as an effort of personal expression. Max Mara pressed the idea into its own collection by incorporating Bo Bardi’s message into wearable, practical looks that rely on a timely blend of trends and classics.