I can remember when I first fell for the charms of Italian fashion house Max Mara. It was 2010 – god, almost 10 years ago – and, at 28, my style was beginning to take on a more tailored, grown up aesthetic. At the time, I had not long finished work experience at Harper’s Bazaar and I had started writing for Vogue. I was so into high fashion that my knowledge had grown significantly – I knew all the hottest designers and top models (back then it was Daria Werbowy, Lara Stone, Arizona Muse, Joan Smalls, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Lindsey Wixon, Freja Beha Erichsen, Daphne Groeneveld, et al). I was devouring the runway show online at every opportunity: during my lunch break, late at night, all weekend. When I wasn’t researching online, I was poring over Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and any other glossy fashion magazine that came with a catwalk collections supplement.
It was throughout all of this when I found Max Mara. I 100% fell in love with their outerwear, namely their coats but also their suiting and knitwear. It’s what they did well, and it was around 2010 that they started to focus again on their signature tailoring and timeless designs – after a few dodgy seasons they had given up trying to be super trendy and instead were focusing on their strength, which was to design beautifully cut, elegant pieces for a modern yet understated woman.
Here we are in 2019 and the whole world knows about Max Mara and their covetable coats. Admittedly, the brand has reverted back to being trend-aware but most of the collections remain true to the house’s roots of timeless silhouettes, expert draping, and exquisite fabrics.
When Genuine Scotland asked me to join them at the press launch in October I was so disappointed not to be able to join them due to existing commitments. When they let me know about the party last week I was determined to make it to Edinburgh to visit the store. I DMd my friend Cassie (we worked together at a wedding mag five years ago) and she met me at the Hard Rock for a (gifted) dinner before we took the short walk from George Street across St Andrews Square to Multrees Walk, where the majority of Edinburgh’s designer stores are located.
We walked into the shop and were greeted by waiters offering drinks – white wine, Negronis, or elderflower-and-something sparkling water. The shop, which spans two levels, houses the full Max Mara collection including sister labels Sportmax, ‘S Max Mara, and Max Mara Weekend. We managed to sneak a peak behind the scenes too, where we found rail after rail of Max Mara upstairs in storage. This leaves the store front uncluttered, with a muted colour Max Mara-esque colour palette, and Italian furnishings and accessories, to create a warm yet sophisticated atmosphere.
As at most shopping parties, there were some ladies who had parted with a few hundred (or a few thousand) pounds worth of Max Mara neatly wrapped in tissue within branded shop and garment bags, which swung gleefully from the crook of their arm. Alas, Cassie and I left with our goody bags and our credit cards intact. But, if I were to drop a few grand on a new winter coat, Max Mara would most certainly be the beneficiary.
I’m wearing: dress, Closet London; bag, Mulberry at Bicester Village; boots, Faith at Debenhams; coat, Max Mara (sadly I didn’t purchase it… just enjoyed the feeling of it on my shoulders for a few minutes).
Images: Stewart Bryden.