Donald Robertson’s gaffer tape butterflies flit to Weekend Max Mara
Donald Robertson – famed American illustrator – creates figurative winged creatures for Weekend Max Mara’s S/S 2021 collection
It’s fitting that the group term for butterflies is ‘kaleidoscope’, because Weekend Max Mara’s S/S 2021 collection is emblazoned with prismatic prints of fluttering wings.
For spring, the Italian brand has teamed up with renowned American illustrator and artist Donald Robertson, on a breezy womenswear collection of ‘Flutterfly’ motif pieces, which are the result of instinctive inspiration. ‘Imagine my ear is a door into my brain. The Weekend Max Mara designers crawled up and into my head – they seemed to understand exactly what I wanted to create from the start,’ Robertson explains.
‘Social media requires speedy content and oil painting takes way too long to dry’
Robertson is famed for his expressive, uplifting and playful illustrations, which revel in a spontaneous sense of form and colour. The artist has collaborated with a host of brands and retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman and Smashbox. Celebrating fast-paced creativity, he often uses graphic gaffer tape in his Instagram-emblazoned designs, which is used recreate the heart-shaped Comme des Garçons PLAY logo or form the bodies of stylish stick figures. ‘Social media requires speedy content and oil painting takes way too long to dry. Tape is instantaneous and super photogenic,’ he explains.
The material played a central role in Robertson’s designs for Weekend Max Mara which see rainbow stripes and bold butterfies formed from strips and scissored shapes of gaffer tape. It also informs the construction of silhouettes, including a summer dress with geometric straps and criss-cross waistbands. ‘I go between figurative fashion stuff and super graphic stripes. That is where the gaffer tape comes into play,’ Robertson says. ‘The butterflies were an experiment to make something delicate out of hard edge tape.’
While Robertson’s designs have a naturalistic nod, the artist has revelled in the indoors solitude of the last 12 months. ‘I have waited my entire life to be told to go to my room and not come out,’ he enthuses. ‘I don’t want to leave my studio. I love it in here. I am a complete creative criminal! I borrow ideas from everyone, my kids, other artists, dead artists, that elephant on YouTube that paints... everything inspires me. I am just waiting for the police to kick down my studio door!’ §