MILAN — The Max Mara Wool Week starts today in a collaboration between the Italian fashion group and The Woolmark Company to celebrate Australian Merino wool, and the two groups are marking the project with the launch of an exclusive wool denim fabric.
“Max Mara has been employing wool for so many years,” said fashion director Laura Lusuardi, “we felt it was natural for us to communicate the qualities of this natural fiber, which is sustainable and is made up of the most wonderful elements — water, air, grass and the sun.”
Lusuardi said consumers increasingly “want to know what’s behind a product,” and this project allows to emphasize the characteristics of wool “without being too technical.”
Max Mara is employing wool denim in a capsule collection of daily pieces, from a shirtdress with a silk lining, to cuffed palazzo pants with front pleats and a double-breasted blazer or fitted jacket. Although created for fall 2017, Lusuardi said denim wool can be worn year-round, and underscored the functionality of the pieces. “We wanted to create absolutes,” she observed. “They are perfect for a busy woman who travels, they don’t crease, and are always impeccable. These are comfortable items and they don’t bleach or fade. It’s an exceptional material. The designs have a daily wear look with a denim effect, with a bit of a masculine edge.” The twisted wool yarns have been treated with ecological dyes to imitate natural indigo. Jackets retail for between $1,150 and $1,350 and pants at $645.
The collection will have a special label to draw attention to the “cultural issue,” said Lusuardi. “All of our store managers are able to tell the story of what is behind the fabric.” The capsule will be in all Max Mara windows starting today and a global road show will travel to Moscow, London, Beijing and Sydney after Milan.
“The interpretation of the project goes beyond the denim outfits,” said Fabrizio Servente, global strategy adviser of The Woolmark Company. “Surely it’s the jewel in the crown in the context of the project and the celebration of the relationship with Max Mara and wool. Our mission is to promote wool in the world, its characteristics and properties and there is nothing better than to take the cue from this for a bigger celebration.”
Servente praised how the properties of Merino wool, which is the finest in the world, he said, enhanced the look of the collection. “Wool hangs differently [on the body], its has a natural aspect and it adds the value of the collection.” Servente said there are 55,000 sheep breeders and 71 million sheep in Australia, which is responsible for 80 percent of global production.
“Max Mara has long been an avid supporter of the Australian wool industry and wool is deeply rooted into the brand’s DNA,” said Stuart McCullough, managing director of The Woolmark Company. “Recently, our relationship has reached new heights, with Max Mara joining the Woolmark licensing program and working closely with our technical experts on product development.” McCullough said the company had provided in-depth training for more than 180 global Max Mara staff on the benefits and versatility of wool and tips to pass onto consumers, such as how to care for wool. “Denim is traditionally a twill fabric, made from cotton,” said McCullough. In this case, the premium wool fabric replicates the aesthetics of traditional denim, exclusively for Max Mara. This improves the aesthetics of traditional denim fabric, “while highlighting the natural benefits of Merino wool such as increased warmth, breathability and resistance to odor.”
In October, Max Mara and The Woolmark Company teamed with Italian fashion school Istituto Marangoni to support budding fashion designers.
With the Textile project, Max Mara and Woolmark asked the students in the final year of their fashion studies to design a collection of 10 outfits for the fall 2017 season. Max Mara guided them in the textile research and in the collection’s development phase, while Woolmark showed them the many applications of the Merino wool.