Max Studio Blog

Editor’s Picks: Venice Film Festival 2014

Venice, the oldest festival on the motion picture calendar - now in its 71st year - opened, perhaps appropriately, this week with ‘Birdman,’ a movie about an over-the-hill actor chasing art-house over mainstream success. The irony was not lost on festival-watchers some of whom have wondered where the big star names and big title movies have gone from this hyper-chic European festival. Despite said mutterings actress Emma Stone has already unleashed a chic Proenza Schouler for the film’s press conference, swiftly followed by a glam Valentino for its premiere, neither of which looked too shabby. Feeling that Venice mood? Here’s a style guide to guarantee you always make the best-dressed list.


Printed Silk Devore Slip DressBeaded & Embroidered Silk Shift DressPrinted Silk Mesh Chiffon Halter DressPrinted Silk Chiffon Halter Dress

Textured Snakeskin HeelsStrappy High Heeled Leather SandalsMatte Snakeskin SandalsGenuine Snakeskin Booties

Scotland The Brave

8/27/2014 1:28:00 AM


Scotland the Brave

Scotland is always on trend. Whether it’s collections covered with Caledonian-inspired plaids - take the Isle of Skye-influenced red check of ‘McQueen Modern,’ for example - or the new, young British crop of IT-models, Idina Moncrieffe and Jean Campbell, coming from North of the Border, or Scottish supermodel Stella Tennant’s local Lovat Mill producing trendy tweeds for Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren, Scotland is always on the fashion map. The fact that there is the small matter of a vote on independence from the United Kingdom next month adds a bit of political spice into the mix. So where better to debut the new line from Max Studio Country than on a Scottish grouse moor? You’ve got the rich browns and moss greens on a smart line in tweeds, crisp cotton shirts criss-crossed with countryside-appropriate stripes and cozy cashmere turtlenecks to layer. This, you see, is the moment to rep Lady-Mary-from-Downton in quilted jackets, thigh-skimming boots with leather uppers, all given a darn cool twist with heavy weight knitted leggings. Och aye the now! (As they might say in Scotland.)

Images: Leon Max Maxstudio Fall 2014 Campaign, Yana Max wears Max Studio Country in Scotland, Models Zinta & Laura G (Photogenics) in Leon Max/Maxstudio Fall 2014

Leon Max | Maxstudio Sport Collection

This season’s Max Studio Sport Collection from Leon Max maintains its clean and basic lines, with a raw and bold twist for that urban goddess. This collection is all about street-wise for techno city girls; lots of leather and rubber trims, tied in with tight fitting, sporty cuts with a laser-cut edge. There’s the textured jacket with rubberized edging, boots straight up for the badass girl not to mention the matte leggings with rubberized side tuxedo stripes.

Holy Cowes

8/12/2014 5:12:00 AM

Holy Cowes

Into the Wilderness

8/12/2014 3:07:00 AM

Into the Wilderness

Even gale force winds and lashing rain couldn’t dampen the spirit of the Wilderness Festival last weekend. It has been four years since Lord and Lady Rotherwick first opened their home and the festival has now grown in size and reputation, quickly becoming one of the most fashionable events of the Summer. Sprawled across the idyllic grounds of Cornbury Park, this festival is unlike any other. Forget suffering in your wellies all weekend, Wilderness is about accommodating your every need and desire. As well as the joys of live music including the legendary Burt Bacharach, there were a number of amazing attractions to keep everyone happy; this year they included a mini-roller disco, a pop up tent by the infamous Box nightclub and for the lucky few an outdoor tea party in honour of Cara Delevingne’s upcoming birthday. Her guests included the actor Douglas Booth,  Jamie Winstone, Holliday Grainger, the Treadaway twins, and Bonnie Wright. We enjoyed summer cocktails and hampers full of deliciousness. Like any festival there were some seriously O.T.T outfits, but in the case of my friends it was all about being cool, comfortable, and casual —- a gold spandex leotard is not exactly a good look when there’s a rainstorm. Luckily I achieved my outfit goals by picking up some adorable Max Studio crotchet shorts, and pairing them with peter pan collared shirts. Until next time….

By: Flynn Roddam

Image: “Flynn Roddam wears Max Studio at the Wilderness Festival, Gloucestershire, England.”

Gabriella de Givenchy

8/8/2014 7:09:00 AM

Gabriella de Givenchy

One of my favorite things about Los Angeles is that it is able to accommodate any style. This is great news for someone like me as I am just as comfortable wearing a loose blouse with a pair of jean shorts, as I am in my favorite little black dress. Some of my most coveted hangouts include the Malibu Farm Market (to satisfy your inner surfer girl), the colorful street art of Abbot Kinney, The Santa Monica Third Street Promenade (for great shopping!) and Melrose Avenue in Beverly Hills. Between all these great locations you have the opportunity to switch into any summer style you love as long as you have a great pair of sunglasses and a beach tote to match!

1.Dark Tortoise w/ Brown Lens Sunglasses (MaileC1)2.Silk Beaded Shell (4101K35)3.Woven Tote (3604A43) 4.Fringed Hem Shorts (4201G01)5.Woven Leather Flat Sandals (Verde).
On Gabriella: Silk & Cotton Embroidered Tunic (4205D35), Linen Embroidered Shorts (4205E01), Hand Burnished Grecian Sandals (Vita)

Cruise Control

8/4/2014 7:53:00 AM

Cruise Control

Glorious Goodwood, the Sussex race meeting that begins to draw the English summer social season towards its grand finale is always a class act. And yesterday, Ladies Day, the ladies’ day was certainly made when Hollywood actor Tom Cruise arrived as a guest of host Lord March, the Duke of Richmond’s heir - and an extra frisson of excitement swept the course and followed him into the Richmond’s Box - along with the strains of the theme tune to Mission: Impossible being played by the Band of the Yorkshire Regiment. As the man of the day it fell to Cruise to present the Magnolia Cup - the ladies race - this year won by a returning victor, the supermodel Edie Campbell.

Images from left to right. Yana Max wearing Leon Max, Tom Cruise and Edie Campbell, Yana Max in-between the Earl of March and Viscount Astor.

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!

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


6/24/2014 2:20:00 AM


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.

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


5/19/2014 4:26:00 AM


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.