Take a look behind the set of Max Mara’s cityscape-inspired pre-fall 2017 show in Shanghai
Max Mara travelled to China for its pre-fall 2017 show, staging its cityscape-inspired collection in the domed foyer of the Shanghai Exhibition Centre. The building boasts a fusion of Chinese and Russian architectural heritage, but Max Mara showcased a collusion of Italian and Chinese craftsmanship, also debuting a see-now buy-now capsule collection, created in collaboration with the Beijing-based artist Liu Wei.
Renowned for his intricate cityscape installations and oil paintings, Wei worked with Max Mara’s creative director Ian Griffiths, to create panelled dresses layered with aerial sketches of imaginary metropolises, and to laser cut abstract urban shapes onto alpaca bomber jackets. His creations, presented in Max Mara’s signature natural colour palette, were bought to life in a stage-set named ‘Monopolis’, a timeless and imaginary city, also created by the artist.
Mechanical hydraulics lifted the roof off Wei’s city, a metropolis composed of geometric shapes and pillars constructed in reflective material, and gold and copper metals. Wei has constructed soaring cityscapes from stacked recycled schoolbooks, and a hanging sphere in the set, from his own studio, was created from rounded off volumes. Models wearing his creations were positioned like statues within the set throughout the show, before joining the catwalk at its climax.
‘The materials used are not really special or innovative,’ Wei explains of the everyday fabrications used in the design of the set. These contrasted against the luxurious leather, mohair and angora in the collection. Tar, dog chews and scrap metal have all been used in Wei’s past artworks. ‘I think it is important to use materials that are available in everyday life,’ he says.