Max Mara pays homage to a creative polymath whose oeuvre was overlooked for decades and is now rediscovered. Architect, dancer, textile designer, painter, and sculptor, Sophie Taeuber-Arp was that rare thing; a modernist who invested even the most everyday objects with a sense of magic and mystery. At Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Taeuber-Arp and fellow artists of the avant-garde including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, and Guillaume Apollinaire met nightly. Their performances, publications, recitals, and readings played out an astonishing new aesthetic: Dada. Taeuber-Arp’s hastily improvised costumes and the marionettes she designed for her most famous work, “King Stag” radiate joyful energy, kinetic spirit, and theatrical panache. They are fully formed fairytale characters with a charm that lies somewhere between the robotic and the animal. Max Mara’s strong and surprising silhouettes are articulated with equal aplomb.

In all the hues of a Taeuber-Arp tapestry, the collection explores playful contrasts of mini and maxi, micro and macro, skinny and outsize.
Part boot, part legging, Max Mara¶s crêpe-soled knitted cuissards feature anatomically placed quilting. Mohair sweaters feature similarly articulated sleeves. Paired with a quilted nylon micro-skirt, those boots express a new dynamic. If not thigh-high, skirts are regal, bell-shaped and full length ± perfect with a skinny turtleneck and a balaclava. The volume is turned up on trousers too; in winter white with the widest legs ever, they appear in tailored cavalry twill and jersey-backed techno-nylon. Closer inspection of those marionettes reveals how Sophie Taeuber-Arp elevates prosaic hardware to poetic heights. Max Mara chooses a pale matte gold zipper as its talisman. Zippered pockets and side splits pop up in unexpected places, and when a tailored jacket or a mannish “cappottino”, gets a double zip fastening, they assume a distinctly Dada dimension. Of course, Max Mara’s coats take center stage, perfect in form, function, and finish, fit for a fairytale queen – or king. Long or short, they underline the collection’s new slouch and swagger.