bal harbour blog

Make Mine Maje!

Judith Milgrom, founder of Maje.

Last week, Maje opened at Bal Harbour, bringing a new dose of fresh French fashion to the Shops. The store takes its inspiration from the Paris stores, and is the first location in North America to feature the chic new “white box” concept, as envisioned by Maje founder, Judith Milgrom. Here, we talk to Judith about her line, personal style and capturing that je ne sais quoi.

When did you know you wanted to launch your own fashion label?
I grew up in a family where the women made everything they owned by hand. As a result, I’ve always had a strong connection to clothing and fashion. When I finished school my sister, Evelyn, had already created Sandro so I started working with her, always keeping in mind that one day I hoped to create my own brand. After a couple of years at Sandro, it felt like the right time to go ahead with my own project so I left Sandro and set up Maje with my brother Alain (1998). We started in a tiny room, creating styles for other brands; then we created our own collections and sold them in multibrand stores. These collections were very successful and we were approached by the Printemps department store in 2001 to open the first Maje corner.

Who are some of your style muses?
It often changes but I’m particularly fond of a few girls such as Kate Moss and Audrey Hepburn whose pure, natural style and beauty inspire me. In my opinion, they became fashion icons in large part because of their attitudes rather than because of a product. Many people inspire me but my tastes often depend on the collections and the message I want to convey. For SS14, the collection consisted of flowing fabrics, fringe and lace and spoke to my desire to go back to very feminine and sensual codes. I was seduced by Catherine McNeil’s natural beauty and felt she was perfect to embody the advertising campaign.

What's your go-to look for work?
I usually stick to timeless basics: comfortable, well-cut pants or leather leggings, a white blouse or cashmere knit and flats – runners or loafers.

Do you have a weekend "uniform"?
My weekend uniform is very similar to my weekday uniform! For parties or special occasions I swap the flats for heels and add statement accessories.

What would you say is the secret to that effortless French style so many women try to achieve?
In my opinion, effortlessly chic French style is based on simple, well-cut pieces accessorized with beautiful jewelry for a sophisticated yet relaxed look. I think the secret is not trying to be stylish but knowing what you like and what suits you.

How would you describe the Maje woman?
She is an assertive woman who embraces her femininity and takes pleasure in dressing herself… in other words: a modern woman! She is active, glamorous, and chic. The Maje woman is free because she creates her own style.

What's the signature of the Maje brand?
Maje was created for a woman who is a lover of bohemian and feminine fashion. It is stylish, yet edgy with a collection each season that features feminine silhouettes, bold prints and on-trend styles with unique, luxury detailing. I love to observe girls on the street; I imagine their personal stories; I get my inspiration from what I see every day to tell new stories through every new collection.

Your daughter works with you. What is her role in the company?
I have always tried my best to translate my passion and the value of work to my daughter. I wanted her to learn to fight to reach her goals, like I did to reach the point where I am today. We work side by side with my teams on a daily basis, from the creation to the fittings; she has great taste and style and it’s great to have someone who is so close to me and tells me honestly what she thinks; we share our ideas and our vision of fashion. It feels very natural; we complete each other and I love having her by my side.

Who are some of your favorite fashion designers?
I love Miuccia Prada, Martin Margiela and Phoebe Philo.

Your perfect Paris day would be…
My perfect day in Paris would start with breakfast at Le Grand Hôtel, followed by a walk around the stores on rue Saint-Honoré. Next I would visit an exhibition (the last one I went to was the one organized by Vogue in Palais Galliera, devoted to the great fashion photographers). For lunch, I would meet my husband at Hôtel Costes followed by walk in the Louvre Tuileries gardens and then go for a massage at Six Senses before meeting my girlfriends for a drink at the Shangri La and dinner at Caviar Kaspia (best view of the Place de la Madeleine).

What's your favorite neighborhood in Paris and why?
I love Paris; it is a very inspiring city where culture and history are present around every corner. There is always something new to see, read or learn. I live in the 16th district; it’s a lovely and peaceful area. When I have time, I go to Pilates classes at Le Tigre. It is a lovely twenty minute-walk from home and I particularly enjoy stopping on the way to look at the fountains between the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower and the incredible architecture in this area.

What are some of your favorite looks from the Spring collection?
I love the FOLIO stripe tunic (featured in the SS’14 campaign). It can be worn with leather leggings and stilettos or simply belted at the waist with flat sandals.

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