MAX MARA PreFall 2023 Collection: available now
Marilyn Monroe and Max Mara; the connection is much deeper than the alliterative double M. There’s a certain symmetry in the relationship between the sex symbol with a yen to show o! her smarter side and the paragon of intelligence who longs to give vent to her sensual self. As famous now as she was in the fifties, Marilyn really does merit the overused epithet ‘iconic’.
She has figured in various Max Mara collections over the years; this time the focus is on the Marilyn described in Elizabeth Winder’s ‘Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy’. That was the year when she educated herself, developed her tastes in literature, music and art, and formed friendships with writers and intellectuals, including her second husband to be, Arthur Miller.
We imagine the Marilyn that might have been, had the Studios allowed her to stay in New York, magically transported to the city of today. Modern Marilyn has moved on from the oo-boo-bi-doo days; she favours curvaceous jeans and jeans jackets in luscious shades of maquillage: champagne, blush, Bellini, powder and raspberry. She borrows liberally from her lovers’ wardrobes: she sports man-size carpenter pants and mechanics’ overalls, always cinched with masculine belts. Max Mara recuts them in lustrous duchesse satin and radzmir for hanging out at highbrow city soirées.
It’s on record that back in the day, Marilyn enjoyed a daily run. Max Mara imagines that she would have embraced modern technical sports gear as enthusiastically as she adopted men’s clothes. Hence an impeccable sheath dress, a full skirt and an iconic 101801 coat in techno-mesh. In her New York period, Marilyn may have embraced a more branché style of dress, but she never relented in her beauty regime. Those unfailing psychological props from her beauty case -lipsticks, nail polish, mascara, blusher and perfume- feature in a series of pop art prints.
Camel coats, like the one in which Marilyn was snapped on the subway, are packed with iconographic codes. Originally tokens of masculine prestige, Max Mara has claimed to them to symbolise women’s empowerment. We present two styles drawn from the earliest examples in the historic Max Mara Archive. From 1961, a neatly proportioned belted wrap coat in camel coloured cashmere –rather like Marilyn’s- and for the in-between season an unlined double breasted cappottino, masterfully tailored for lightness.
Another deserving recipient of the ‘iconic’ label is surely the Max Mara Teddy Bear Coat, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2023. Max Mara marks the occasion with a re-edition of the cuddly covetable classic in a delicious make-up shade and a new addition to the family. Inspired by Marilyn, ‘Teddy Teddino’ is a flu!y take on the jeans jacket. There’s a collectible commemorative T-shirt too, featuring photographs by the celebrated artist William Wegman of his famous Weimaraners wearing the cult coat.