Maison Mai RTW Spring 2021

It was a happy coincidence that the Maison Mai collection showed on Oct. 1, the day celebrated across Asia as the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, but designer Mia Li found it an auspicious sign. After all, the moon was the main inspiration for her spring collection, shown digitally on the French couture federation’s platform.

Having canceled her Paris fall show in March, Li found herself reflecting on the pervasive sadness of the current time, especially when thinking about how many families were broken, temporarily or permanently, due to the pandemic. A full moon, seen on a rare outing, provided a sense of solace, and the starting point for her season.

Cues from the celestial body ran throughout the collection, from prints of its surface to the circular pattern used to create a yellow dress that curled around the body, and right down to a color palette that reminded one of nighttime scenes in classic Asian art.

Maison Mai RTW Spring 2021

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The standout pieces were those in which her moonlit references were delivered lightly. A pair of shorts with curved seams wrapping around the hips telegraphed dressed-up ease, while in the sleeves of lightweight coats and shirts, she tucked hidden pockets. Moon prints dissembled into thin strips printed or applied as thin ribbons created almost-abstract motifs across dresses and tops. A skirt, printed with the moon’s surface and overlaid with black mousseline, paired with a shirt that slanted across the shoulders almost like a qipao — another happy coincidence, she said — felt like exactly what you’d want to wear for a long awaited family gathering.

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