Max Mara © Copyright 2020
Painters, poets and philosophers, composers, cartoonists and crooners from Shakespeare to Stevie Nicks, TS Eliot to Tracy Emin, Jeanette Winterson to Jean Genet; they have all felt the lure of the sea. Max Mara shares their fascination.
The ocean is a potent metaphor for the human condition; hazard and hope, love and longing, valour and vaingloriousness. Tales of ships and sailors are universal. “In civilisations without boats,” Michel Foucault observed, “dreams dry up.”
Ms Max Mara has been dreaming a lot of late. Daydreaming. A little tired of the hidebound conventions of corporate life, she sits at her desk and entertains fantasies of running away to sea. Her dreams cast her as the captain of her own ship, out to rule the waves and make her fortune.
Northward bound, from Morocco to Murmansk, she imagines majestic wintry seascapes. And whilst she’s charting her course with characteristic Max Mara levelheadedness, she detects a surprisingly romantic impulse stirring within her.
And what’s in this latter-day adventurer’s wardrobe? Well, the maritime theme yields a variety of silhouettes and a newer way to mix Max Mara’s signature camel, grey, white and, naturally, navy. There are coats of all kinds; officer class greatcoats, capes, cabans, and duffels with toggles and tassels. Luxuriant robe-de-chambres are tied at the waist with an elegant rope.
Ruffles and gathers lend debonair swagger to the shoulders and sleeves of camel hair classics, pinstripe jackets and a skirts with hemlines that dip dramatically on one side. A capacious Max Mara doudoune is perfect for the harshest inclemencies – its outer shell is resilient nylon, but its wadding is a cashmere fleece.
Of course, an epic sea adventure requires a fair amount of stowage. Hence Max Mara’s Marine bag capacious and soft but with structure like a ship’s keel.
Mon, February 24 2020 » Fashion Blog
‘Fiction needs more female spies,’ says feminist writer Natasha Walter, ‘after all, women are trained to keep secrets’. Her fiction debut A Quiet Life puts a woman at the centre of a spy thriller. She’s not the first –action adventuress Modesty Blaise has been around since 1963- but she’s one of very few.
The latest is the BBC America phenomenon Killing Eve. It has won a bunch of accolades (with nine Emmy nominations pending) and its writer, woman-of-the-moment Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been hired to polish the script of the new Bond movie. Due to premier next Spring, Waller-Bridge says it will ‘treat women properly’. And hopefully we will get a dash of her tongue-in-cheek humour.
Max Mara imagines the wardrobe for a film yet to be made. All the tropes are there, but turned around. Modesty Blaise is the new 007. She admires Bond’s elegance, but questions his modus operandi. Bumpy car chases, shootouts and cataclysmic explosions -dangerous, dirty and unnecessary, she thinks. With a strategic hint and a well laid trap, she manoeuvers her adver- sary into surrender. No need for a gun then, but the holster makes for a very stylish design detail.
Our film begins in London; a car rides through rain streaked Whitehall, heels click briskly in the corridors of power, the dark hush of a wood paneled office. She wears spy-style trenchcoats and sharp shouldered three-piece trouser suits in ‘sharkskin’ and Prince-de-Galles. Later, lunch at a discreet Mayfair watering hole; she wears a playful mix micro foulard prints in black and white.
To the airport; she never travels without a generously proportioned bush jacket and a perfectly designed Whitney bag. The latest are small, soft and neat or big enough for overnight (you never know). A private jet delivers our heroine to a palm fringed island. She crosses the glittering bay by speed launch to a sequestered hideaway.
She favours tropical military uniforms –shorts that graze the knee and multi-pocketed shirts in eau-de-nil, shell pink, and powder blue. Perfect for keeping cool when chasing through the jungle. She is prepared for every eventuality. Cocktails with the subject of her assignment? A grand affair at the Governor’s mansion? She has long pale paisley print bias cut skirts and fluid pastel gowns with tough looking braces.
She walks across the lawn to a waiting helicopter in a flurry of diagonally placed silk volants. In this film –and in real life- Max Mara never lets her down.
Tue, September 24 2019 » Fashion Blog
In the 30th anniversary year of the fall of the Wall, Max Mara salutes the renaissance of a great city. Berlin is a beacon for art, architecture and design. Alongside restored masterworks by Schinkel, Gropius and van der Rohe, there are ones by the new masters -Foster, Piano, Gehry, Libeskind and Chipperfield.
Max Mara’s approach has always been quasi-architectural, and the Neues Museum resonates with the brand’s design philosophy; a respect for heritage, history and storytelling, coupled with a commitment to modernism. Max Mara is honoured to be the first brand to show in this monumental and evocative space.
The museum contains one of the world’s most precious collections of prehistoric artifacts. There’s a striking modernity and sophistication about some of those things that were beaten out by hand in a time before time was measured. The exquisite precious metal objects from the Bronze Age – including one of the museum’s most dazzling exhibits, a gold leaf ceremonial helmet known as the Berlin Gold Hat- are the inspiration for a series of sculptural bracelets, necklaces and earrings designed in collaboration with jewelry designer Reema Pachachi. And the subtle gleam of ancient metal is also woven into handwoven looking fabrics that provide a foil to Max Mara’s impeccable cashmeres and pristine wools – realized in a characteristically sandy palette.
Berlin’s heroes and heroines are Max Mara’s too; in particular Marlene Dietrich, natürlich, and David Bowie, who lived here in one of his most creative periods. Both left an indelible mark on the city. Though they never met, they were mutually fascinated and co-starred in David Hemings’ 1978 Weimar period drama “Just a Gigolo”. Enigmatic, virtuosos of self-image, Bowie and Dietrich shared a penchant for sharp shouldered suits, wide legged trousers and tightly belted trench coats. All three classics appear in the collection -with neo- primitive raw-edged fringes that hark back to the museum’s collection.
Max Mara’s ‘Berlin coat’ is an homage to the city. Immaculate white, strictly tailored, its shoulders emphasized by embroidered flowers – an homage to the exquisite porcelain of Meissen, the epitome of German craftsmanship. It draws together the threads of a collection that combines design, history and emotion.
Prof. Dr. Matthias Wemhoff, Director of the Museum of Prehistory and Early History (Neues Museum) in Berlin says: “The Neues Museum is proud to be partnering with Max Mara on the occasion of its Resort 2020 Show, which is inspired by the city of Berlin and held in the momentous celebration of 30 Years Fall of the Berlin Wall.
Also the fact that Max Mara itself is strongly dedicated to making art available to the public and demonstrating outstanding support for the arts and young artists internationally, honours us to stage Max Mara’s Resort collection, which will mark another cultural highlight for this building. We are looking forward to have this iconic Italian fashion brand presenting its Resort collection for the first time in Germany in the Neues Museum.“
Wed, June 5 2019 » Fashion Blog
Sat, February 23 2019 » Fashion Blog
Max Mara© Copyright 2019
THE POLITICS OF GLAMOUR
‘I like glamour. Not afraid of it.’ So declared the iconic supermodel and many times face of Max Mara, Linda Evangelista. She wasn’t, but many were. Sometimes, in the debate about fashion and feminism, glamour took a beating. Right now, everyone’s talking about fashion that empowers women, but how exactly does that work?
Max Mara says it’s all about clothes that allow you to shine. Glamour is the magic ingredient that puts the power into power dressing. More than just ’fashion’, glamour offers an armoury of personae, tricks and tools. Thinkers like Camille Paglia rejoice in that. ‘It’s men who suffer from conventions of dress,’ she says.
Max Mara’s boss lady works that advantage to the full; she is sharper, smarter and sassier than ever. What does Max Mara glamour translate into? A silhouette that’s strong at the shoulder; wider, boxier and leggier. Skirts that look as though they were cut from mens’ pants –above the knee, or ankle grazing- to wear with thigh high boots and svelte polo sweaters.
Plush alpaca, camel and cashmere artfully bound in leather. A new luxe take on puffas –with camel’s hair wadding. In trademark camel, black, white, and tan, heritage prints discovered in the archive. A bold mix of tweed, jaunty checks, proudly faux croc and zebra. And for the working woman, workwear, literally; impeccably tailored utility vests, jackets and cargo skirts with multiple zips and pockets.
The moodboard recalls that early nineties moment when the supermodels strutted the Max Mara runway in threes and fours. Happy and heroic, in tech- nicolour total looks; the kind of bright optimism that we need a bit of now. A Teddy in audacious cyan, cerulean or corn yellow? Why not? It will light up your winter, this year and many more to come. And where better to show than Università Bocconi? A world class institution whose graduates are movers and shakers –nearly half are women, and the number is rising.
‘Dressing like a woman means wearing anything a woman deems appropriate and necessary for getting the job done.’ says Roxane Gay. Max Mara goes one step further; here’s the suit that makes you look forward to getting up and dressed in the morning, here’s the dress that picks you up even when you don’t really want to go to that party, and here’s the treasured coat that you wear to that meeting at which you absolutely have to triumph.
Sat, February 23 2019 » Fashion Blog
Culture and counterculture; icons and iconoclasts; trophies and tropes; meanings and messages that time turns on their heads. Back in the day, Max Mara devised a code for women on the move. So called power dressing offered the keys to the executive suite. The price was strict conformity; self-expression wasn’t part of the deal for Working Girl.
Twenty or thirty oors below, in shadowy subterranean nightclubs, the style tribes’ studs, straps and chains signi ed a point blank repudiation of the corporate grind. You were one thing or the other. Forty years on, things have changed, barriers smashed, boundaries blurred.
Now, the Max Mara woman demands success on her own terms and dresses accordingly. Her don’t-mess-with-me coat and those tough looking leather suspenders hanging from her waistband are a declaration that our heroine is in a determined and de ant mood. Max Mara says classic doesn’t have to be conservative, especially when it’s served up with feline attitude, a little gothic grit and a big splash of bombshell glamour.
Everything is rede ned; tailored Teddies and voluptuous drapes; leopard spots and Prince-de-Galles; fringes and shtails; duffel coats and diamante; maverick camel and radical pink. Max Mara works the dialectic to generate a smouldering energy. Spotlight on punk queens Siouxsie and Sinead as they take the stage in a late night downtown cabaret.
Max Mara’s chanteuses wear mean looking stilettoes, catlike eyewear and a new take on the handbag to wear diva style. T-shirts featuring graphics dedicated to Max Mara by the legendary artist François Berthoud celebrate the imagi- nary gig. Luxury is a lazy word, used to lump together everything with a little practical purpose.
Max Mara merits a more precise de nition, after all, these are clothes with a purpose -to empower. And how can an item of clothing empower? Just watch a woman slip into a Max Mara coat; she feels like a star, she can conquer the world. That hasn’t changed since the brand began the long march with the working woman.
Year on year, it’s Max Mara’s job to recalibrate the can- ons of style to sync with “l’air du temps”; for 2018 Max Mara proposes a chic new mix that’s one part boardroom exec, one part husky songbird, and one part screen siren.
Tue, February 27 2018 » Fashion Blog
Classic by design
From Vitruvius to Rasmussen; the architectural greats have made a habit of assembling their ideas into high-minded treatises. After more than 65 years in the game, Max Mara could feasibly eld a design manifesto to rival any of them. That reverence for the guiding principle is somehow more Nordic than Latin and there’s something about the quest for luxury within reach (just about, if you work hard enough) that chimes with Scandinavian ideas about democratic design.
In mid-century Sweden, the Slöjdföreningen coached edgling couples setting up house. Spreading the credo that beauty is hon- esty they laid down the rules: a linoleum oor should look like linoleum, not stone; the construction of an armchair should be clearly expressed, not hidden beneath extraneous upholstery; super uous decoration should be shunned. Max Mara has no argument with any of that – after all, why would you want to make cashmere, camel’s hair, yak or alpaca look like anything other than what they are? Not that the strict Swedish design canon (or its icy climate) produced a nation of cold ascetics; to wit Ingrid Bergman and Anita Ekberg.
Their frosty looks combined with utterly Italianate temperaments inspire Max Mara to recast of the Milanese sartorial tradition with a Nor- dic spin. The mood is captured by Johnny Dynell, whose soundtrack – Vivaldi set to a Scandi dance beat – pulses through the Palazzo Del Senato’s restrained neoclassical colonnades. Executed in colours from the Max Mara Pantheon – camel, cognac, casha, grey, and emphatic red – the look is at once discreet and head-turning. There’s Bergmanesque swagger in a new full skirted silhouette, pleats aring from the waist, slouchy glamour in a double face camel hair sweatshirt, insouciant elegance in the knits which are the key to this season’s mood; rich cables and ribs.
The principal argument in Max Mara’s thesis? Il cappotto – the coat; each one a perfect conjugation of material, form, nish and tness for purpose that would delight even the Slöjdföreningen. The newest of all are signature classics realised in intriguing hybrids; camel hair artfully tailored with shearling and bonded knit – cardigan coats that articulate a chic, youthful elan. Their deceptive simplicity the fruit of over half a century’s know-how. A modernist take on cat eye sunshades, a deconstructed bag with a shearling liner that spills over to the outside, and a pointy toed pump complete the look.
Max Mara has long championed the modern heroine in her climb to the top – no matter how tough the going, the brand helps her to make it look easy. Cool, cultured, un appable and highbrow; Max Mara anticipates her nal push to the summit.
Sat, April 15 2017 » Fashion Blog