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Back in September last year, the Max Mara spring/summer 2022 fashion show transported us back to the 1950s Technicolor Côte d’Azur-daydreamed summertime world of author Françoise Sagan, when, as a rebellious teen, she was forced to forego the traditional family vacation to stay at home and study. Denied those summer months at the family’s seaside home, her 18-year-old imagination gave birth to the literary masterpiece and scandalous success, Bonjour Tristesse, which was brought to life in the 1958 Otto Preminger-directed adaptation. Drawing parallels to a life denied through globe-wide lockdowns, Max Mara creative director Ian Griffiths imagined his own escape, while crafting a modern-day, tailored manifestation of the novel’s protagonist, Cécile: the Bougie rebel.
While the mood board was filled with dream the vacation stylings from Preminger’s film – including the iconic image of Jean Seberg and David Niven in matching chambray shirts tied at the waist – it was Sagan’s own signature “beatnik chic” style that most inspired Griffiths to elevate workwear staples, like the fisherman’s smock, the laborer’s jacket and carpenter pants.
Throughout Max Mara spring/summer 22, classic workwear is evoked with an upscale prêt-à-porter flair as styles feature precise contrasting seams on gathered canvas, impeccable poplin and denim. Tank tops and chunky soled sandals bring a sense of sartorial rebellion to complete the “bad-girl” look, while sometimes-embroidered chiffon with delicate feathers counterbalances the workwear style. From sand and tan to navy blue and black, the sunshine-ready colour palette ranges is enhanced by yellow and orange beach-hued accents, while beach umbrellas are the inspiration for laid-back complete looks in boldly striped canvas.
While Bonjour Tristesse’s Cécile set the scene, Françoise Sagan herself personifies the spirit of the collection. "She was always 12, she did what she wanted," Juliette Gréco explained of habitual-rule-breaking close friend. As her slender first novel flew off the shelves, Sagan became a scandalous success. Then, now and forever. “She [Françoise Sagan] refused to conform to the norms of dress or behaviour,” Griffiths told WWD post-show backstage. “And what I’ve noticed in the past few years is how if you issue an invite to an event and you specify a dress code, anyone who’s got any cool about them at all completely ignores the dress code.” As a clubkid of 1980s Manchester, Griffiths – known to wear wedding attire and mucho makeup – understands better than most that rules, conventions and expectations are made to be twisted and/or ignored.
Building on this rebellious spirit, LN-CC ignored the ‘never work with animals’ trope and invited eight dogs on set as we shot our own modern-day Bougie rebels in head-to-toe Max Mara spring/summer 22.