The Max in Mara

Not many people know about her yet, but Max Mara has a new spokesperson and she’s multo cool. (I don’t mean Jennifer Garner who is the first celebrity to be featured in a Max Mara advertising campaign. She’s cool too.) I’m talking about Maria Giulia Prezioso, a 29-year brunette who lives in New York, has seven tattoos, crushes on Keith Richards and is an avid AC Milan supporter.  The first time I came to her house we downed two bottles of champagne and smoked cigarettes on the balcony. Her mother Ludovica and design director Laura Lusuardi with her daughter had joined us by the second bottle, but still, it was a bonding, definitive moment and I immediately felt the intimate, low-key understanding this extra-large family has been able to maintain since the patriarch, Achille Maramotti founded the company in 1951.

There’s a lot I didn’t know about the Maramotti family. And it’s safe to say I’m not alone. They keep to themselves and seldom reveal details about the company. None of the family members appear in magazines like the Missonis do or have highly publicized instagram accounts. In fact, when I take a picture of Maria Giulia talking to her uncle outside the office in Milan, she warns me not to use it: “He hates being photographed!” Mama Ludovica is Achille’s daughter. Uncle Luigi is the chairman of the company. Brother Edoardo is the assistant of the CFO and there’s dozens of cousins and more uncles. The entire gene pool is involved! And yet no one has seen their faces. I was also surprised to learn that Max Mara has employed many of today’s big names like Karl Lagerfeld, Stefano and Domenico and Narciso Rodriguez, but again, kept it under wraps. And that the ‘Max’ of  ‘Mara’ refers to a certain “Count Max, a local character who was seldom sober but always stylish” which sort of brings me back to those bottles of champagne…

But let’s get back to Maria Giulia, because she might be the force-with-a-face to turn all the secrecy and mystery around. “Eighty percent of my job is to manage the North Eastern America Retail stores,” she tells me when I visit her at her brother’s apartment in Milan. “Retail is my passion; I would almost say my mission. It is so amazing for me to be able to mix the retail side with being a spokeperson. It gives me a clear idea of who actually likes Max Mara and what they know about it, and how to choose the right communication channel and course of action. Right now, the communications office is focused on ways to market through social networking. It’s very exciting!” She’s not super active on social media yet, but she’s looking for other ways to spread the word. Through non-exclusive ambassadors for example. I recently joined this fun, happy, twitter-crazy family and attend most of Max Mara’s events with girls like Harley Viera-Newton and Hannah Bronfman. We wear the clothes. People take pictures. It’s as social as it gets!

Style-wise Maria Giulia is a loyal Max Mara woman. Her staple is a black blazer with skinny jeans and a silk blouse. “Another signature is rings,” she says in her strong Italian accent. “I have rings from everywhere, of every dimension, for every finger. I am obsessed with vintage jewelry. And, needless to say, a coat. It can be black, camel or blue – but is definitely always there. In fact sometimes I wish it were winter all year around…” When I visit her we are getting ready to see the Sportmax show and she tells me that the difference between a Max Mara and a Sportmax woman is a sense of adventure. The Max Mara woman “works, she loves fashion, yet she’s not a fashionista since she likes to interpret trends on her body. She’s comfortable with herself, with her body, with her lifestyle. The Sportmax woman is all that, but definitely edgier and wants to feel sexy. She’s avant-garde, creative, passionate about fashion and also strongly focused on trends that she loves. Both of these women are undoubtedly modern. I think each one of us will sometimes be a Max Mara woman and some days feel more Sportmax and vice versa…”

There is no shortage what vintage is concerned. Max Mara turned sixty two years ago and the heritage is enormous. To best describe it, Maria Giulia tells me about her favorite coat. It was her mom’s but she still wears it. “Or some suits that are ten years old and to me they’re still one hundred percent modern and contemporary. I think in a way this is the heritage of Max Mara: timeless, yet contemporary. With an absolute consistency throughout the years.” Besides the vintage jewelry, and the inherited pieces of the family, she does not wear so much vintage. “I truly believe everyone has a vintage period that best fits his or her own style. For me is the fifties with a bit of seventies. What I don’t like, is when it is too exaggerated, when it stops feeling modern…” And that said, she puts on her classic black blazer outfit and a big smile, because it’s time to get social.

 

September 24, 2013

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