Max Mara’s New Atelier

James T. Murray

Max Mara now offers bespoke-level craftsmanship right off the rack. Is this the future?

In the beginning, there was the coat. It was in 1951 that Max Mara founder Achille Maramotti created an outerwear empire from a raglan-sleeve style—the first prêt-à-porter garment ever marketed in Italy. Thirty years later the brand debuted its best-selling model: a sharped-edged, double-breasted cut in camel wool that endures 73 precise production stages before it can bear the Max Mara label. Last year, under the guidance of design director Laura Lusuardi and with the resources and artisans in its San Maurizio factory, the company went a step further with its limited-edition Atelier coat collection. The sumptuous materials and hand finishes are commonly associated with a bespoke garment, but the line’s 11 pieces still maintain Max Mara’s tradition of ready-to-wear ease. Below, a look at the details.

Fabric: The Orleans coat, shown here, is a wool-and-angora Doppio blend sourced from Italy and takes Max Mara artisans ten hours to create. Other Atelier fabrics include silk duchesse, crocodile-pattern jacquard, pure-washed camel and wool crêpe.

Style: Designer Lusuardi divided the collection into two categories: glamorous dress coats, some with modern flourishes (a drawstring waist) and others with retro cuts (oval or A-line); and practical travel styles, like a parka or an animal-print trench.

Collar: The Orleans coat’s shawl-like front and high-necked back are draped by hand; the dramatic portrait collar is the coat’s focal point.

Sleeves: The collection contains tiered Murmandy fur sleeves, high cuffs and loose-fit kimono shapes. Here, however, the sleeves are simple: slim, tailored and designed to hit half an inch below the wrist.

Lining: The Atelier dress coats are fully lined with simple black Italian silk. The parkas have cashmere linings as well as removable goatskin inner waistcoats.

Finishes: A signature of the line is embellished trimmings in luxe materials like fox, beaver or astrakhan. Here, the softness of the wool angora is offset by a thick black wool grosgrain belt.

The Orleans coat is part of Max Mara’s Atelier collection, which was introduced last year as a limited-edition ready-to-wear line with bespoke-level details. The A-line shape and the portrait collar are cut from a wool-and-angora blend and tied with a wool grosgrain belt. $3,450; maxmara.com.

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