Max Mara’s Blue Safari

Courtesy Max Mara

A dress sets the tone for the season.

We were asking ourselves, What most identifies Max Mara in the summer?” says Ian Griffiths, head designer of the Italian fashion house. “Looking back through our archives, the answer was sexy safari, but we wanted to give the look a new coolness.” Hence the daring hybrid dress ($1,310), whose design served as inspiration for the entire collection. The oversized, slouchy top—complete with epaulets—is reminiscent of a more masculine explorer’s uniform, but the feminine and sleek tube skirt creates tension and balance. The modernized play on opposites is achieved using silk with a smooth finish and super-sumptuous jersey. The fantastical wildlife scene (in the background) is actually a detail from a silk scarf ($190) and part of the latest version of Sportmax’s Carte Blanche capsule collection, created in limited editions by Ambra Medda, the cofounder of Design Miami. It makes for a decidedly chic accessory for braving the Sahara or the city streets. For more information, go to maxmara.com.