Now Italy's biggest fashion house, Max Mara came from humble beginnings but grew up to have bold ideas. Achille Maramotti went from law to haute couture and a love of fashion inherited from his grandmother who herself had created her own luxury empire in the centre of their home in Reggio Emilia. However, Maramotti wanted to create something different, high quality mass produced clothes for women comprising mostly of coats. Coming as he did from a quiet town in Italy it was seen as quite an outrageous change of career as clothing design and manufacture was seen as a lifelong learned craft. However, he stuck to his guns and was very was successful - setting up the House of Max Mara at Reggio Emilia in 1951.
His manufacturing techniques would improve with each decade and now Max Mara is an infamous brand with luxury stores all over the world. Max Mara has also given birth to other brands including Sportmax, Marella and Max & Co. He employed designers that would go on to be incredibly successful and famous themselves one day including Karl Lagerfeld, Dolce & Gabbana and Narciso Rodriguez. However, the family liked to keep a low profile - keeping the attention on the brand itself and not on individuals. It’s worked, because Max Mara are still as popular and renowned as ever.
What I love the most about Max Mara is their attention to detail and the way they just epitomise style and class. Their clothing is always simple, stylistic and chic from trousers to shirts, dresses to skirts. But it is definitely coats that they are most famous for Max Mara’s most famous coat designed in the 1980s is the 101801 which is the double-breasted cashmere wool coat with kimono sleeves, which sold so well it has been included in every collection since with no changes or tweaks to the design. There aren't many fashion labels that can boast such an achievement.
Original vintage Max Mara coats (so older than 25 years) are not easy to find, but for the dedicated vintage fashionista this is only like holding a carrot to a donkey’s nose! The coats are of such good quality and made from such superior fabrics that they are truly made to last. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of anything beyond the 1980s, but if a vintage piece is worth finding it’s worth doing some investigating. When you do find vintage Max Mara it can be like discovering gold for the first time! Gold nuggets of fashion with such exquisite detailing and quality material do command a certain price point. They can be anything from around £100 and up to £1,000. Sixties and seventies seem easier to find than fifties coats, but the rarer the find the more triumphant you’ll feel.
Max Mara has never lost its ability to create the perfect coat, classy, well made, perhaps only for those who could afford a little of the Italian magic, but never completely out of reach and now with online stores selling both contemporary and vintage, Max Mara has possibly never been so accessible.
Until next time
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