Experimental feature

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Experimental feature

MaxMara SS16 was another ode to all thing nautical, with a salty collection inspired by Jean Cocteau’s naïf sketches of the sea. Of course, there were stripes. Banded thinly on narrow stretchy tops with elongated arms. They were emblazoned also in primary brights across double-faced wool coats. Rope details featured too (a hangover perhaps from SS15, where humble cord was elevated to high fashion everywhere from Céline to JW Anderson): here it was knotted as a fastening, and used to gather sleeves, waists and necklines, or swung as a decorative detail from the shoulder. A rope print also coiled over showerproof parkas and canvas trousers in cerulean blue.

The tailoring was also predictably on point: long, flared matelot pants were embellished with brass details; sharp jackets were buttoned askew — as if fastened by the hands of a drunken sailor — to lend them asymmetric interest. There was a tip of the cap to Jean Paul Gaultier here, who has long fished the ocean for inspiration.

At times, however, the naivety of the cutesy Cocteau details felt less than chic: do you desire a seagull-printed tote bag, or a tag emblazoned with a bottle-a-rum? Do you want a canvas skirt covered in tiny semaphoring sailors? I don’t. These details, and the bold yellows, gold tones and star theme of the show veered dangerously close towards Petit Bateau territory for me (a brand I love but which does, after all, make children’s clothes in adult sizes).

However, as one with a staggering weakness for a maritime stripe or a seaman’s jacket, there was bounty here. I especially loved a wool naval officer coat, long and lean with military detailing, brass hardware, a heavy tab at the back and a structured shoulder. No one can touch MaxMara when it comes to the cut of an overcoat. And these, as ever, were more than shipshape.

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Photographs: Catwalking.com

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