Having been with Max Mara for the past 52 years, Lusuardi has witnessed some of the most exciting periods in fashion. The Italian group’s Fashion Director talks about timeless style and the longevity of the 101801 coat.
You’ve been with the company for a long time. What do you like most about your job?
There are a few things that I enjoy about my job, such as working on the designs and construction of the garments that the brand produces so that they stand for nothing but excellence. And then there’s the research aspect. I also enjoy working with the different designers to create the collections that fall under the Max Mara family.
There are so many lines within the group. How do you ensure they all fit the Max Mara DNA?
It boils down to consistency. Every Max Mara line has its own identity and style. Their customers are different too. So it’s important every collection is consistent, yet at the same time evolves. We need to remember that the customers are evolving in their needs too. We have to take care of that.
How has the Max Mara woman evolved?
Women are more involved in the office, so naturally, fashion had to cater to that. During the ’90s, fashion went global. But the most interesting thing was that you could find women that perfectly fit the Max Mara identity anywhere in the world. It could be one collection from Max Mara, and women everywhere could identify themselves in it. It’s an interesting generation of women we’re seeing now. They are more self-conscious and aware of quality. For example, there’s the 101801 coat. It is an icon of excellent quality. The cut of the coat was popular in the ’80s, but it’s striking a chord with the daughters of the women who bought the coat. The coat really follows Max Mara’s DNA of timelessness and everlasting quality.
How often do you listen to the customer?
I listen enough. It’s more about knowing what women say they want versus what they need. Show collections are important because they help paint an image in the magazines. Then there’s retail, which is what’s really happening. This is why it was so important to open the first Sportmax store in 1965. We wanted to be able to listen to women and understand everything.
What do you look for in a talent?
Two things: First, you must be able to design and construct a coat. Second, it’s just a gut feeling!
A plush puffer jacket for the woman on the move
Italian design is exemplified at Max Mara