Inside Max Mara's "Coats!" Exhibition in Seoul

Max Mara celebrated its signature piece in Seoul, with an expansive exhibition that spans seven decades.
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If there is a singular item that Italian fashion house Max Mara has become synonymous with, it is certainly the coat. And so, it is only fitting that the brand celebrated its illustrious 66-year-history with an exhibition simply titled… Coats! After hitting Berlin, Tokyo, Beijing and Moscow, the extensive collection most recently travelled to Seoul’s DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza), where the exhibition was unveiled at the end of November.

Laura Lusuardi, the brand’s fashion coordinator, told us ahead of its launch: “The city of Seoul brings together tradition and innovation, just like Max Mara does. We’re both very similar, and that is why we make good partners.”

And there’s more ways in which the city and the house are alike, as the latter sums up in the exhibition’s main dome-shaped structure, and a specially created coat design. Lusuardi explained: “The special coat is minimal and in camel. It’s inspired by the Korean Yugi bowl. The exhibition’s main dome structure and digital installation, by Korean artist Yiyun Kang, also brings to mind the Yugi bowl – a bronzeware piece that was associated with royal families, and is still passed down generations today. It is always in use, and a combination of tradition and innovation, just like the Max Mara coat.”

The exhibition’s seven rooms, each representing a decade of the house’s history, were described by Lusuardi thus: “The ’50s represents the company’s founder Achile Maramotti and his dream of the coat. In the ’60s, we started a more ‘creative studio’ and democratic coat, while in the ’70s, we began to experiment with colours. Our iconic 101801 coat was born in the ’80s and it became a symbol of Italian style. The ’90s shows our work with famous photographers like Steven Meisel. In the 2000s, our coats became sold in over 100 countries in the world. Finally, the 2010s is dedicated to our fashion shows and the Whitney bag.”

Lusuardi reveals more about the famous coats and women behind Max Mara.


Sixty-six years and counting – what do you consider the qualities of the Max Mara coat that have made it such an enduring icon?

Quite simply, the design and quality, as well as how we think about different women all over the world when we create our coats.


Which coats do you always end up wearing?

One of them is the coat that you have on now, the Max Mara 101801, which was created in 1981 and has kimono sleeves. I love a coat that I can wear and keep for 15 to 20 years – a contemporary piece. The coat is really important because it’s something that can make women feel protected.

The 101801 happens to be Max Mara’s best-seller. What makes it special?

It’s the most sold and most copied coat from our collections. It also has perfection in its design – so much so that we have never made any changes to it. All we did was to add a tag, with the story and history of the coat, inside it. The kimono sleeves mean that any woman – with small or big shoulders – can wear it. It’s also a coat that can be passed to the next generation – mothers and daughters love it equally.

"The 101801 has perfection in its design, so much so that we have never made any changes to it. It’s also a coat that can be passed to the next generation – mothers and daughters love it equally." 

Camel is a colour that is synonymous with the brand. What’s your favourite thing about it, and what are the other hues you love?

The colour has indeed become characteristic of Max Mara – the idea of bringing the man’s wardrobe to women’s clothing. Historically, camel was for men, and we were the first to bring it to the woman’s wardrobe. And now, it’s our iconic symbol. Personally, I also love blue, grey and red. Because these are the colours that women can wear with almost anything at all.


Many famous women – Carla Bruni, Linda Evangelista, Kate Middleton and Cate Blanchett – have been the brand’s poster girls. Who would you love to see wearing the Max Mara coat?

For me, it’s not so much of which celebrity wears the coat. I like to see that they can use it always. It’s also about other women. During my travels, I like to take pictures of women who are wearing Max Mara coats. Here in Seoul, there have been many – and they all look so elegant!



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