In boutiques today, the wardrobe designed by Ian Griffiths pays homage to Malevich’s modernism and the pomp of the Youssoupov.
Max Mara’s cruise parade should have been held at the Yusupov Moika Palace in St. Petersburg on a sleepless night in late spring. Even where, in 1916, Félix Youssoupov participated in the assassination of Rasputin. And where, during the Belle Époque, the young decadent aristocrat and his wife Irina organized balls of incredible splendor, before fleeing Russia to reach Paris. The models should have crossed the row of galleries under the gold, facing an audience of VIP guests seated on chairs covered with white sheets – as if Felix and Irina had just packed their bags … Blame for confinement, the Italian brand has was forced to review her plans, cancel the event and showcase her inter-season wardrobe through a series of photograph
“Between the Russia of the Czars and Constructivism”
These images do, however, do justice to those silk pajamas embroidered with Slavic ribbons, those fluffy coats for a stroll along the Baltic, the Teddy Bear cardigan (the sleeveless version of the coat) in fluffy wool to wear indoors. , to those precious dresses with faded colors and those pants buttoned up and down like tennis skirts were in the 1920s.
“I was looking for a place to explore the poetic, romantic facet of the Max Mara woman ,” explains Ian Griffiths, artistic director. I didn’t think of Russia, but of Saint Petersburg, which is a world in itself. I knew I could find some kind of romance there. ” More than the city, it is Felix and Irina Youssoupov, a disturbing couple with androgynous beauty (they are almost confused in the photos), that the Briton at the service of the Italian brand since 1987 celebrates in his cruise collection. Him, known throughout the city for his transvestite services in cabarets. She, whose dresses rich in embroidery fill the archives of the Hermitage. “They weren’t just historical figures of that time,” he continues.They found themselves at a crossroads, torn between this Russia of the Czars and constructivism, the avant-garde, the work of a Malevich, for example. By leaving their country in crisis, they reinvented themselves. The message seems current and relevant to me . “
The idea of benevolent and protective fashion, conveyed since the 1950s by Max Mara, is also not lacking in relevance in these troubled times. “The crisis has confirmed our belief that clothes convey emotions ,” adds Ian Griffiths. They influence our mood, help us feel good or even better. It doesn’t sound like much but these little things make the difference. When we design our collections, we make sure that any piece gives a feeling of confidence and security to the woman who is going to wear it. This is my specifications . ” So why the Russian novel?“Historical research is food for creation. But I am aware that it is useless to have a thesis in Russian history to appreciate it, our clients must be able to understand it without necessarily having the references . ”