In 1951 Achille Maramotti created one of the largest, if not the largest, Italian ready-to-wear labels for women. He named it Confezioni Maramotti in honor of his mother.
Tailoring was in the Maramotti family's blood. Back in 1850, Achille's grandmother, Marina Rinaldi, owned and ran one of the best-known fashion studios in Reggio Emilia. Her attention to detail and the fine fabrics she used meant members of the Italian aristocracy were drawn to her hand-made dresses. Marina Rinaldi's passion was inherited by her granddaughter, Giulia Fontanesi Maramotti, Achille's mother. Giulia not only continued with her grandmother's work, she also started to write books about the theory of cutting, while teaching sewing and tailoring in the Maramotti Cutting and Dressmaking School she had founded.
This school was where Achille Maramotti took his first steps into the world of fashion, despite the fact he had a legal background. Achille's dream was to produce tailor-made clothes for women on a large scale while retaining his family's tradition of high quality. Italy wasn't quite ready for a radical change like this but was won over by his very first collection, where Maramotti presented new designs which were a winning mix of French style and top class Italian tailoring.
With his simple and elegant lines and bright, warm colors, Maramotti soon conquered the public and his name starting appearing all over the world. In the 1960's, women's suits and more casual jackets joined the earlier pieces that had brought the Creazioni Maramotti such success. Special attention was given to the coat, a must-have of the winter collections. It became the key item in the Italian fashion label's collection in 1981, with the 101801 model.
The iconic 101801 was created in 1981 by Anne Marie Beretta. The double-breasted coat is made of beaver and cashmere in a light , classy color that mean it can be worn by all types of women, thanks to the cut of the waistline and the kimono-sleeves which suit every shape. Famous faces like Isabella Rossellini, Cate Blanchett and Queen Sofia of Spain still love to wear it. Each year it is presented inchanged in the Max Mara Autumn and Winter collections. An eternal and durable item - just what Achille Maramotti wanted his creations to be.
From the 1970's to the 1990's Achille Maramotti, with the help of group fashion co-ordinator Laura Lusuardi began to include design ideas which paid homage to English style. First came Sportmax, designed for the young go-ahead women who wanted to be a bit different from their peers. This was followed by Sportmax Code, Occhiali Max Mara for eyewear and sunglasses, Max Mara Perfumes and the sporty and glamorous S Max Mara among many others.
Nowadays, Max Mara symbolizes the best of Italian ready-to-wear. The empire is still run by the Maramotti family and includes many new lines including Weekend (more affordable and using less expensive fabrics), I Blues (separates), Penny Black and Marella (more affordable), Pianoforte (eveningwear), Max and Co, and Marina Rinaldi (in homage to Achille's grandmother and aimed at larger women). By 2010 the company had a turnover of over a billion of Euros and a net profit of 55 million Euros.
Max Mara fans include former model and actress Andie McDowell, socialite Cornelia Guest and actresses Liv Tyler, Vanessa Redgrave and Winona Ryder. There are stores worldwide including SoHo on West Broadway, New York and Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills.
The names of the young designers who work for Max Mara are not made public, but top photographers including Richard Avedon have photographed the collections for their advertising campaigns. In 2001, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Italian fashion house, William Wegman was asked to pay homage to the 101801 coat with a series of photos. He decided to take a shot of his dog wearing the coat, the image becoming famous all over the world.
Today the company is run by son and chairman Luigi Maramotti, 46, helped by his brother Ignazio and sister Ludovica. The Max Mara classic style is kept alive by Laura Lusuardi who has been with the company for many years. Their factory is considered to be a good working environment and the group is engaged in a great number of activities.
They are particularly interested in the education and training of young talent, something inherited from the family teaching tradition. The Giulia Maramotti Foundation is not only a training ground for fashion genius, but also a real opportunity for young talent to shine, something that sums up the family ethos of this most successful of Italian fashion houses.