Max Studio Blog

Design For Life

7/18/2014 8:02:00 AM


Design For Life 

The design process at ‘Leon Max’ begins in the company’s Wren Wing Design Studio at the eponymous designer’s English country house, Easton Neston. It’s here that a design team, working out of a state of the art fashion hub built into an 18th century Real Tennis court, fuse modern fabric innovation with the traditional influences surrounding them.
It’s from here to that, in conjunction with a Leon Max and MaxStudio design team based in Los Angeles, a continuous flow of ideas is produced, in turn creating an ongoing flow of high-end design pieces dispatched to stores world-wide.
At Leon Max we feel it’s an interesting time to be in fashion: when a design studio in England can influence a collection sold across the world.

My Style - Emily Penn

7/14/2014 7:58:00 AM


My Style - Emily Penn

I feel more at home on the water than I do on dry land. The way sunlight sparkles on the surface of the ocean, the infinite horizon, that all-consuming joy of plunging into the planet’s deepest waters for an evening swim; I can’t think of anything that gives me a greater sense freedom.

And it’s not just how it makes me feel. Every breath we take literally comes from the ocean; I think we feel so calm near water because it’s so crucial to our survival. In turn, I feel a duty to protect and preserve it.

After university a job arose in Australia and I decided to get there without taking an aeroplane. While looking for a way to hitch halfway around the planet I was offered a role on the world-record-breaking biofuelled vessel, Earthrace, and ended up not going home for three years. I’d found my passage.

It was during that first year at sea that my eyes were opened to the degrading state of our oceans and the challenges faced by small islands and their communities. I never made it to that job in Australia, there was more important work to be done.

I visited the remote low-lying islands of Tonga, which were dealing with a massive rubbish disposal problem. We organised one of the largest clean-up campaigns ever instigated, motivating 3,000 people to collect 56 tonnes of rubbish in a single day. A freighter was diverted to haul eight shipping containers full of rubbish away from the islands.

I then hitched a ride on another freighter to California to meet and learn from plastic pollution experts, and shortly afterwards Pangaea Explorations was born. I now spend my life at sea, taking scientists and film makers to the most remote parts of our planet to discover and document plastic pollution, via our sailing vessel Sea Dragon. We want to help people establish an understanding and a connection with the ocean - it’s much easier to care about something we love. And I get to spend every day doing it!

My entire life possessions pack into two dry bags – so I have to choose clothes very carefully. I absolutely adore the few items I have. The Leon Max clothes I chose are very versatile; you can dress them up or down, which is exactly why I love them. I feel great in them and most of all, they fit into my crazy lifestyle!

www.emilypenn.co.uk

Get Emily’s Look:

Sleeveless Maxi Dress

Double-Knit Dress

Wide Leather Belt

Tortoise Cat Eye Sunglasses

Color My World

6/27/2014 5:42:00 AM


Color My World

Whether it’s the pill-popping profusion of brights of the Brazilian flag fluttering over the World Cup, or your own country’s national primary colors, what better season to embrace your favorite or most patriotic hues?

For both England (oh dear) and US (go get ‘em!) fans the red-bright-and-blue combo is a winning fashion formula -  though perhaps less so for England, perhaps. At Leon Max we’ve come over all Brazilian and are pruning our wardrobes to match the greens, yellows and blues of that riotous ensign.

Shop Now

PAINT IT BLACK

6/24/2014 2:20:00 AM


PAINT IT BLACK

I normally spend the day in the studio wearing a not very fetching overall (or whatever I have most recently ruined with paint) so dressing up to go out is something fun and I think fashion should be fun too. I guess I normally go for one or the other; either all black or the opposite - too much pattern and colour for that clash/circus look.  Thinking about colour and texture is something I do for my paintings - clothing in portraiture is a useful way of giving a hint to the viewer about the ‘inner life’ of the sitter and I love the way that Velasquez, Sargent, Paula Rego and other artists like Edouard Vuillard use pattern and textiles to enhance their narratives and composition.

Vanessa Garwood photographed in her Chelsea studio – Vanessa wears Origami Organza Shell. Model wears Silk Chiffon Long Dress

Vanessa Garwood is one of England’s young, talented emerging portrait artists. She studied at the Charles Cecil School in Florence and has recently been commissioned by Mayfair club 5 Hertford Street to paint a series of its club staff.

www.vanessagarwood.com

Ascot Rules

6/20/2014 4:24:00 AM


Ascot Rules

There are a number of vital rules that are strictly enforced upon any fashionista entering the Royal meeting at Ascot racecourse. 

- Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.??

- Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.??

- Jackets and pashminas may be worn, but the dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code.??

- Trouser suits are welcome. They should be full length and of matching material and color.??

- Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of four inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat.

On Tuesday the Queen went for the palest of blues. Princess Eugenie looked chic in a beige trench coat and matching hat. And Yana Max showed the Royal Enclosure how a fashionista keeps things cool - in a black Leon Max cape

Spring At The Met

5/20/2014 3:02:00 AM


Spring At The Met 

Find your Met inspired Spring colour > Shop The Look

OTIS

5/19/2014 4:26:00 AM


OTIS

Otis fashion design has been an inspiration powerhouse for the world and Leon Max has been a supporter for 20 years. He was awarded the Design Legend Award at the 32nd Gala. To quote Leon,” it is truly an honor, and it is deeply moving to reflect on my personal and professional journey. Max Studio is a place devoted to experimentation, inspiration an problem solving. I often describe my label as a laboratory of ideas. While I look to tradition for style and elegance, I also embrace modern technology. It has been rewarding for me to find a similar spirit of discovery and invention at the College.”  
Maxstudio also supported the event as I was a mentor for the senior students this past year. It was my 5th time doing so, and this year I used the Mexican architect Luis Barragán as my inspiration and for my students to design with him and his work as their project. I introduced them to using architecture as inspiration and the simple elegance of the essential form and function of Luis Barragán. He is known for his use of light and shadow to amplify the color that truly is a part of visual stimulation and sometimes unseen. 
I am a proud supporter of this annual event, as all of the monies generated go back to the students to assist with tuition. As Leon has said, “ Otis students are socially and culturally aware. They are informed about the world but also profoundly curious about it.” I couldn’t have said it better. AA 
Contributing Editor: Ame Austin

Project Mia

5/13/2014 1:59:00 AM


Project Mia

It’s been almost 2 years, and my site specific cut paper installation, HOVER, is still floating happily amid the gorgeous clothes at the Leon Max store in Westbourne Grove.

I think of my installations as puzzles that I both create and solve. Usually I cut every piece by hand, but HOVER is made of laser cut paper based on tracings of my existing paper pieces, which I had output in a range of sizes. The puzzle this time was how to use a limited number of shapes in a way that didn’t feel repetitive.

My process is very spontaneous and intuitive. I don’t make drawings or plans in advance, I just bring the paper pieces and start creating the installation based on my response to that particular space: the light, the traffic patterns, the mood. For this project, the architect had to install ceiling lights around my installation, which meant he had to wait until the last possible second, but he was extremely accommodating of my methodology!

Since then I finished UPLIFT, a giant public art project in Boston commissioned by Liberty Mutual for their new headquarters. Made of water jet cut steel and aluminium, UPLIFT appears to emerge from an outdoor plaza and rise through the building’s windows to swirl around a two-story circular atrium. These days I’m working on SOAR, a public art project in New York City’s subway system on the A train line. Like UPLIFT, this project also translates my hand cut paper shapes into another material, using the same methods for HOVER but output in steel instead of paper.

Of course with public art I can’t just bring my paper pieces and get to work, everything is planned way in advance down to the smallest detail. It’s been surprisingly easy though to go from making totally ephemeral works to permanent projects, because no matter the final material, I start by cutting paper in my studio and playing with it until I come up with the final form. Hopefully these permanent projects retain the spontaneity of HOVER and my other paper installations, in a material that lasts forever.

By Mia Pearlman

Tribeca Film Festival 2014

4/30/2014 2:30:00 AM


Tribeca Film Festival 2014

This year the festival was about welcoming new comers, one of whom had no trouble fitting in, the young director Gia Coppola. Coppola debuted her first feature “Palo Alto” at the event and it was a roaring success, with exceptional reviews. The indie film stars the highly in demand Emma Roberts, alongside James Franco, as well as introducing promising new actor Jack Kilmer (son of Val) in this dreamy coming of age tale. The story follows the lives of three different teens living in suburban California all dealing with inner struggles. Coppola drew inspiration from her awkward teenage years and photographer Steven Shaw, who happened to be her college professor. Although she cannot escape the association with her highly famous family, Coppola hopes to set out her own path, and this looks promising with such an impressionable first attempt. As for the festivities, the week kicked off with the annual Vanity Fair Tribeca party, held at the New York Supreme Courthouse. It is the event to be seen at with many iconic actors and celebrities in attendance, with co founder Robert De Niro rubbing shoulders with the likes of Anna Wintour, the Mayor of New York, and Christy Turlington. As the week progressed, so did the parties. Chanel held a dinner at the chic and iconic French Brasserie Balthazar,which is about as synonymous for its foods as its’ people watching. Naturally, it was a star studded event playing host to Hollywood royalty Sophia Loren and fashion favourites, Julia Restoin Roitfeld and Lily Aldridge.

The festival ended on Sunday and as always, was an affair to remember.

Click the links below to get Flynn’s Tribeca look

Sailor pants 

Jersey Striped Tee

Pleated Skirt

Matte Tortoise Sunglasses

Dior and I

4/29/2014 2:31:00 AM


Dior and I 

'Dior and I' - or 'Dior et moi' to give it its French title - is a new documentary directed by Frederic Tcheng that debuted at the beginning of this Tribeca film festival. It's the first of its kind, really, a forensic, all-access look into the inner-workings of a newly appointed designer and his couture house, that of Raf Simons at Christian Dior. The Belgian had a mere eight weeks to produce his first collection - a couture designer would normally have six to eight months - and yet keeps his cool in front of the seamstresses. There are some fascinating insights into this high-octane world; when one of the 'premieres' - the heads of the atelier - disappears, we find out she has been summoned for a personal fitting with one of the house's top clients in New York. And when the collection's finally show in a Parisian hotel particulier fifty florists cover the walls with a million flowers and even Anna Wintour seems impressed. 

Fashion Flashback

4/23/2014 2:54:00 AM


Fashion Flashback

The late ’80s was all about big shoulders and nipped in waists and when Absolut Vodka approached designer Leon Max to design a dress for its ad campaign this was it.

New York designers Carmelo Pomodoro and Marc Jacobs had begun the campaign for the vodka brand and now it was the turn of the Los Angeles designers, with James Tarantino joining the ranks along with Leon Max. The dresses were to have the Absolut Vodka label emblazoned down the front, and the parent company, Carillon Importers, was to use the images as their advertising campaign in the glossy magazines.

You can see here the various sketches and thoughts that Leon Max worked on, and the final result, a toga-shape made of knitted lace with a transparent Absolut label sewn in the front. The Absolut dress made its debut at that year’s L.A. Style magazine 5th anniversary party. Real ’80s cool.

Coachella 2014

4/11/2014 7:54:00 AM


Coachella 2014

Coachella is all about stripes and pastels and light and airy dresses or white denim cut-offs accessorised with high heels or boots and floppy hats, full make-up and a gorgeous Californian tan - no Glastonbury style mud and gurning over in Indio, please, thank you - and the parties.

Each year the lead party crown seems to be snapped up by the poolside brunch hosted by Mulberry. That’s the invite to kill for. Here is prime queen of the desert territory where you’ll spot the likes of Emma Watson, Lily Collins, Arizona Muse, Dree Hemingway and Cara Delevingne all in their natural habitat.

But which style tribe will you pick?  Will it be the Rihanna school of spiky Daisy Duke shorts or low-key Kirsten Stewart in tiny shorts, a grey vest and a dirty baseball cap? Did anyone say Coachella was about the music?

Shop the Coachella festival style guide

Fashionable Selby

4/9/2014 3:41:00 AM


Fashionable Selby

I am an unabashedly addicted fan of the very talented interiors and fashion photographer, and illustrator, ‘The Selby.’ His work and scrawlingly witty picture captions populate the pages of Vogue, Le Monde and the Guardian. On my daily quest for humor and inspiration I was delighted to find him - full name: Todd Selby - and his ‘gurus of grub’ book, “Edible Selby.” It was this that lead me to follow the man who brings whimsy to the world with his books, the second one was “The Selby is in Your Place,” and now his latest, “Fashionable Selby.” Here, through his signature photographs and watercolours he investigates fashion with the most interesting designers, stylists, models and tastemakers. Whether it’s underground style stars or the established grandees of fashion, the Selby is your man!

By Ame Austin









The Glamour of Italian Fashion

The glam squad were out in London last night for the opening of the V&A’s latest blockbuster fashion event: ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014.’

And whether it was the bold and black Cavallis on Hurley (long with a cut out flash of skin around the midriff) and Campbell (beaded with a flash of red feather on the hem) or the swagger of Rita Ora, Erin O’Connor and Eva Herzigova, this was all about one thing: the glamour and sex appeal of a fashion industry that burst out of 1950s Florence.  

The exhibition itself charts the rise of post-war Italian luxury from the first ever fashion shows organised by Giovanni Battista Giorgini in the Sala Bianca, the show-stopping chandelier’d gallery of the Medici’s Pitti Palace, through the Hollywood film sets of ’60s Rome to the rise of Valentino and the cult of the grand Italian maestro of fashion.

The fashion event of the season; la Dolce Vita, indeed.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Fashion Flashback

3/28/2014 10:07:00 AM


Fashion Flashback

Gorgeous Lydia Hearst, heiress and supermodel, was Max Studio’s autumn/winter 2008 cover girl in a gothically glam shoot held in the grounds of Easton Neston. She was having a moment then - the great-granddaughter of mogul William Randolph Hearst - winning Best International Supermodel in November of that year. She was high-profile from birth, the daughter of kidnapping victim Patricia Campbell Hearst and Bernard Shaw, her mother’s bodyguard, who would go on to run security for the Hearst Corporation. She in turn would cover Vogue’s across the world as well as pose for Vuitton, Moschino, Prada and DKNY. She’s having another moment now in the US, as one of the team coach’s on Naomi Campbell’s model search show, The Face. It’s all about Team Hearst.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Yves Saint Laurent

3/19/2014 5:54:00 AM




Yves Saint Laurent

'Yves Saint Laurent' is the fashion film of the season and tells the gripping story of the great designers rise from 22-year-old creative director of the house of Dior to the inspirational genius who founded one of the most iconic fashion brands in history.

It doesn’t hold back from showing YSL’s darker moments either, a manic depressive whose rock bottom moments were kept from imploding by his long-term partner (and business partner) Pierre Berge, who gave his backing to this movie.

But the great glamour moments are there too, fittingly for one of the greatest names in fashion history, a designer who helped re-invigorate the Couture as well as making ready-to-wear chic. He invented ‘Le Smoking’ giving women the tuxedo suit. He was ’70s rock n’ roll. He was king of the great fashion quote too: “Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” And there you have it.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Cheltenham Festival 2014

3/13/2014 4:59:00 AM


Cheltenham Festival 2014

The Duchess of Cornwall was at Cheltenham Races yesterday; always the early springtime fling for the British society set. Equestrian fashion is always something that jumps back in the saddle. There’s the Middletons and Royals wafting past the finishing line track side in their sharply cut tweeds crowned with glossy furs hats. There’s Monaco royal Charlotte Casiraghi who wears kit designed by Gucci on an eventing circuit where she rubs shoulders with other chic, jodhpur clad fillies like Jessica Springsteen. It’s here, on horse back, that the clothes look so smart, tight-fitting and practical - no wonder that Hermes and Ralph Lauren took the trend to its logical conclusion in the ’90s. And no wonder the MaxStudio polo team looks so cool in its uniform. The secret to perfecting that pose? The six essentials according to Gucci designer Frida Giannini are: “Tailored jackets, riding boots, white shirts, stretch-slim trousers, a great leather belt - and perfect posture”.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Last night in Los Angeles:

2/27/2014 8:53:00 AM












Last night in Los Angeles:

Vanity Fair and designer Leon Max hosted a party for two hundred of Hollywood’s finest at the legendary Chateau Marmont to toast the great Annie Leibovitz’s release of her new, limited edition mega-sized book as the town went into pre-Oscar lock-down. Lily Cole, photographer Terry Richardson, Melanie Griffith and Sylvester Stallone were some of the crowd who turned out for drinks in the gardens of the Chateau as well as Mario Testino, Lauren Hutton and Molly Sims. Photographs from the book - Leonardo, Kate, Meryl et al - were on display in the famed penthouse suite; the pictures are from Leibovitz’s early career right through to her celebrated stylized portraits featured in Vanity Fair and Vogue and never before seen work. All strong red-carpet practice for Sunday’s Academy Awards.

Click here to view the video from the event

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Fashion Flashback

2/27/2014 2:40:00 AM






Fashion Flashback

This week is the grand finale, the orgasmic crescendo, of the Awards Season, that month or so when the red carpets of Hollywood are an A-list battle ground. Tomorrow night designer Leon Max co-hosts with Vanity Fair the launch of Annie Leibovitz’s sumo-size new tome at the Chateau Marmont, on Saturday there is the Chanel pre-awards dinner and on Sunday the big guns are out for the Academy Awards themselves.

Our favourite moment of the Season so far? That was a couple of weeks back when Los Angeles hosted the Grammy’s ‘Salute to the Beatles’ and we spied three of our campaign stars sparkling amongst the A-list audience.

Model/musician Charlotte Kemp Muhl was sitting with boyfriend Sean Lennon - she was the face of MaxStudio for Autumn/Winter 2004-5 - while Spring 2006’s Behati Prinsloo, the Namibian supermodel, was on the arm of Adam Levine and Suki Waterhouse (MaxStudio Class of 2012) was looking stunning hanging with Bradley Cooper.

All in a night’s work.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Fashion Week Fall 2014

2/19/2014 8:03:00 AM


Fashion Week Fall 2014

Not even the gloomy weather could dampen this year’s London Fashion week, which has always proved to be an eclectic mix of quirky and cool. Designers showcased their fall collections in true Brit-style, with celebrity fans in attendance complementing the cool and stylish clothes. Guests at the shows included Kate Moss, Anna Wintour and Bradley Cooper to name just a few.

The week started off with a bang, debuting twin designers Felder Felder’s sexy and fun collection. Incorporating colourful statement pieces with feathers and bold prints, the show proved to be a success and got things off to a great start.

As the shows progressed, London was in full swing, with certain designers generating much deserved praise. Among these were Christopher Kane who juxtaposed PVC with satin, Giles Deacon and his lavish creations and Julien Macdonald ethereal gowns. Very much worth mentioning is Tom Ford. Ford was clearly inspired by 1960s London sending knee-high boots, leather, and a lot of velvet down the runway. The show was even closed by British Icon Stella Tennant.

”Burberry being the quintessential British brand didn’t fail to amaze with Christopher Bailey’s Impressionistic inspired floral dresses, evoking a sense of Monet meets Aztec. Hand-painted accessories from the shoes to the bags made the collection even more impressive and with Paloma Faith closing the spectacle, this was a show not to miss.

Last but certainly not least was Simone Rocha who closed Fashion Week with her beautiful Elizabethan inspired catwalk. Rocha’s collection had no shortage of rich velvets, gold’s, and reds–picture Anne Boleyn meets teenage punk. All in all, the week was a royal success.

Contributing Editor Flynn Roddam

Loading
cj