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Max Mara to the Max

Culture Watch
The cover of “Coats! Max Mara 60 Years of Italian Fashion” published to accompany the exhibition of the same name.

Certain brands elicit a particular piece of clothing: for Chanel it’s the tweed suit, for Givenchy it’s the original Little Black Dress and for Max Mara it’s the coat.

In celebration of its 60th anniversary, Max Mara has taken its archive of coats, images of the many icons who have sported them and lots of other house ephemera on the road for the “Coats! Max Mara 60 Years of Italian Fashion” exhibition. Having already toured Berlin, Tokyo and Beijing, the show will close in January at its final stop in Moscow.

The show is curated by fashion historian Adelheid Rasche, who pored over thousands of Max Mara coats in the company’s archive before selecting the 70 coats to exhibit. Although the company has 19 labels under its umbrella, the focus is on the Max Mara and Sportmax lines, including the iconic 10180 camel coat.

The exhibition is divided into thematic areas and linked through a timeline: the foundation (Fifties-Sixties); the relationship with the publishing sector (Seventies); creativity (Eighties); photography (Nineties), and industrial production (2000s). The coats are displayed along sketches and images by renowned photographers Paolo Roversi, Arthur Elgort, Albert Watson, Peter Lindbergh, Steven Meisel, Richard Avedon, Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin and Craig McDean, and archival sketches signed by designers who have worked with Max Mara including Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Dolce & Gabbana, Narciso Rodriguez and Franco Moschino.

What began with a line of well-cut coats with fur collars founded by Achille Maramotti in 1955 has grown into a massive company with more than 5,000 employees spread across its 19 distinctive labels. Today it’s led by Maramotti’s children; Luigi Maramotti as chairman of Max Mara, Ignazio Maramotti as chairman of Max Mara Fashion Group and Maria Ludovica Maramotti as chairman of the group’s Manifatture del Nord brand.

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