It's winter, and people are talking about pragmatic sportswear for working women, which points toward a bumper opportunity for an established go-out outerwear brand like MaxMara. This season the label strove to capitalize on that heritage—established way back at the dawn of working womanhood—with a collection that focused on eighties swing-coated military silhouettes with a touch of the Dr. Zhivagos about them.

Greatcoats, stand-up collars, rows of buttons on shoulders, and long skirts in navy, gray, khaki, and stone formed the core of the show. These uniformly passed muster with all the evident quality women expect from this house—save, perhaps, for the shearlings. In a season of hot competition on the sheepskin front, these seemed too featureless and bulky to be contenders. Where the presentation really stretched credibility was when the styling delved into wide trousers tucked into leather knee boots, gold cocktail dresses, and heavily embroidered eveningwear with a quasi-czarist theme. That much historicism only served to distract from the strengths of a company whose classic product doesn't need to dress up in fancy disguises to prove its market relevance.