Nicola Maramotti, director of European retail development at Max Mara, the Italian fashion company run by her husband and founded by her father-in-law in 1951, gives us the lowdown on their new Edinburgh store on Multrees Walk.
It is the first standalone Max Mara boutique holding all the collections and ranges in Scotland, and the first exclusive boutique owned by the family. A celebration of Italian design, heritage and craftsmanship, it’s brightening up autumn with the Fall Winter 2019 collection – who doesn’t need an injection of cyan, cerulean and yellow in their wardrobe right now?
What is your position within the Max Mara group and where are you based?
Max Mara is based in Reggio Emilia in northern Italy, 40 minutes from Milan. I am the director of European direct retail for the brands Max Mara, Sportmax, Weekend and Max&Co.
Tell us about the new Max Mara store in Edinburgh?
The design of the space truly embodies the essence of Max Mara’s Italian heritage and contemporary spirit. A special brass wall is equipped with a unique cloud treatment which interacts with the sober elegance of the signature elements already present in other Max Mara stores and a selection of Italian design furnishings. Natural stone, metal walls, oak wood and etched iron are further enhanced by burnished iron, brass, carnico grey marble and wood furnishings.
Together with elegant design, precious details and a chic atmosphere, the store evokes Max Mara’s fundamental brand values of Italian craftsmanship and timeless construction.
Why did Max Mara choose to expand the business into Scotland, in particular Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and therefore a very important market for Max Mara which we hadn’t developed yet. Scottish women suit the philosophy of the Max Mara style; accessible luxury with a high demand for quality and fit. Fashion for a multi-tasking woman. A woman who likes to feel sure of herself.
Edinburgh is the seventh biggest city in the UK and Max Mara found great interest for the brand and its fashion there. Also Edinburgh’s historical and cultural attractions, including the university, make it the UK’s second most popular tourist destination with many overseas visitors.
What’s in the new store now?
The Fall Winter 2019 collection which is about fashion that empowers women. Glamour is the magic ingredient that puts the power into power dressing. Impeccably tailored utility vests, jackets and cargo skirts with multiple zips and pockets. The looks come in technicolor – cyan, cerulean and yellow; an infusion of the bright optimism that we need a bit of now.
What is the brand DNA?
Imagined for the confident woman, consisting of rich fabrics with precious details applied to ready to wear, Max Mara collections embody femininity and Italian craftsmanship. Founded in 1951 by Achille Maramotti – my father-in-law – it is famous for coats and sharp suiting and a versatile wardrobe for an active woman.
What challenges does the brand face expanding into a new market?
Max Mara has stores in over 100 countries and we have understood that in a global, omnichannel world the biggest challenge is probably to keep your corporate identity and values of the brand. The challenges we face in Edinburgh are to be the best in service and product to attract the domestic client.
What is the fun part of your business? Can you tell us about any other projects the brand is working on at the moment?
The fun part in the fashion business is the continuous change; every season you have to reset your mind, understand your customer, find new ideas of engagement. We are in the middle of a technological revolution that has to be considered and carefully integrated in the business. A brand has to work much harder to produce new content much more often to keep up with the speed of today’s communication.
I enjoy most working with the younger generation. This is why we founded a retail academy in the company which trains them to become retail managers in a two-year programme.
Max Mara has many initiatives that support women in the creative industry. Can you say more about the organisations Max Mara has partnerships with?
Women have always been centre stage in Max Mara’s vision. We have been partnering with Women in Film for 14 years. This is a very influential Hollywood organisation which advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industry to achieve parity and transform culture. Max Mara established the annual Women in Film Face of the Future Award for an actress who is experiencing a turning point in their career.
Past recipients include great names such as Rose Byrne, Zoe Saldana, Katie Holmes; Elizabeth Debicki is the winner of 2019 edition. In 2005 we established, in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery, the Max Mara Art Prize for Women; it aims to promote and nurture emerging female artists who have not had a major exhibition yet, enabling them to develop their potential with the gift of time and space.
The prize is a six-month residency in Italy during which the artist has the opportunity to realise an ambitious new project which is then presented in major solo exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and at the Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
What is Max Mara’s most popular product? Has there been a favourite in the Edinburgh store so far?
The Max Mara Teddy coat is still the most wanted item of the season. First presented in 2013 on the catwalk of the Milano Fashion Week, it has been worn by countless celebrities. Made of pure camelhair on a base of silk, the exuberant volume of the coat is a celebration of the fabric’s opulence.
Who are your customers?
There is not just one customer. In fact Max Mara offers a huge variety of products that respond basically to every need of today’s women, making them always feel elegant and confident.
Max Mara Edinburgh, 23 Multrees Walk, Edinburgh EH1 3DQ (0131-557 2605, https://gb.maxmara.com)