Max Mara at the spring-summer 2012 Milan fashion shows Featured

Safari hits the runways in this light, bright collection

In the spring-summer 2012 collection by Max Mara, the office becomes a safari, and likewise leisure, and evening entertainment. A remarkably restricted colour palette - predominantly beige, with a dazzling sky-blue, as well as leather brown, black and white - is used to create a series of variations, all essentially minimalistic. Trousers are knee-length and figure-hugging, in sheer stretch fabric. Tops are also fairly simple, either close-fitting, or dramatically wide statement garments in creative and unusual shapes. There was also a knitwear top in a subtle olive colour. Details include staple-like links on jackets, and leather inserts. Shoes have wedgy soles and gladiator-like ankle straps; bags are totes or buckets, in beige and white.

There are quite a lot of semi-transparent components, as in an ingenious short dress in three horizontal segments united by transparent sections. Hot pants seem to be back with a vengeance, beautifully cut in a glossy faux leather. More formal garments included a superb cape-like dress in the sky-blue colour that, with beige, dominates the collection: quite hard to describe, it is a sort of electric turquoise and a brilliant contrast with the other hues. The trench is used very loosely, a recollection of a classic motif. A metallized-finish trench added a sort of Midas touch to conclude this impressive show, in which simplicity and colour-blocking are used within the overall structure of well-orchestrated minimalism.

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See the Milan spring-summer 2012 women's fashion collections schedule with links to reports