Max Studio Blog

Fashion Fun Under a London Sun

Finally London has seen a little bit of an English sun and the fashion set has been celebrating the summer season. First we had the Vogue party at Kensington Palace’s Orangery to celebrate Ralph Lauren as Wimbledon uniform outfitter for the last decade. Jessica Chastain brought some Hollywood glamour to W8 and Cinderella actress Lily James looked cute in a crisp white shirt dress. Then it was over to the Serpentine Gallery for it’s annual Summer Party, this year co-hosted by hot Scots designer Christopher Kane who provided his gaggle of girls including Lara Stone, Alexa Chung and Poppy Delevingne while Yana Max wore Leon Max Collection. Though fashion maybe fun, the one thing they can all agree on: it’s more fun when there’s sun.

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


Brights, stripes and bold yellow were the order of the day yesterday at Cowdray Park polo ground in Sussex when a crisp crowd turned out to  salute the English summer weather at the Veuve Cliquot Gold Cup final. Model Portia Freeman with her white blonde hair went for a 50’s Hollywood siren look, Charlotte Dellal too in candy stripes while Daisy Lowe popped in a technicolour. For men a clean line in a beige linen suit was the order of the day - simplicity, after all, is the keynote of all true elegance.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Acceptable in the 80s

7/15/2013 5:35:00 AM

Acceptable in the 80s

The big fashion blockbuster exhibition of the summer has opened at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum; “Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s.” That decade saw an explosion in the city’s club and fashion scenes, scenes that were inextricably intertwined. “We’d go out almost every night and I’d wear whatever I could find that was sparkly, then we’d go to work the next day,” explained the designer Rifat Ozbek at this week’s opening. The famous clubs that defined those years -  Taboo, Circus, Blitz - were the influence on the trends of the time, New Romantics, Hard Times, Glam, and the pieces on display are from the ’80s most cutting-edge and cool designers, the great names like Westwood, Galliano, Katharine Hamnett, Conran and Paul Smith. The legendary magazines that covered the scene and pushed its new street look - The Face, i-D and Blitz - are exhibited too. A jacket belonging to Leigh Bowery, the performance artist and club promoter so famously painted by Lucien Freud, and a name indelibly associated with the scene, is one of the exhibition’s star turns. Created in collaboration with Blitz magazine and Levi’s, this 19-pound jacket has hundreds of dazzling gold pins used as the fringing. It was Bowery, after all, who on founding Taboo in 1985 had the club doorman hold a mirror up in front of the faces of would–be club goers and ask: “Would you let yourself in?” Well, would you?

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

The Bling Ring

7/9/2013 3:38:00 AM

The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring is Sophia Coppola’s new buzz movie; starring Emma Watson and based on the real life events written about in a Vanity Fair article it is set in LA as a gang of celeb-crazed kids break into the homes of their favourite stars and nick whatever takes their fancy. They want the trappings of privilege: Chanel bags from Paris Hilton’s, Rolex watches from Megan Fox, Louis Vuitton suitcases full of clobber from Audrina Partridge; all their favourite style stars are targeted. Coppola’s work is an ode to superficiality and the Hollywood street style of over-sized sunnies paired with Starbucks to go. It’s a paean to the girls who know the form on each Lindsay Lohan court appearance pap shot, who get off on clocking Kirsten Dunst in the club. The film’s costume designer Stacey Battat has got that Hollywood style moment down pat. Birkin Bag me up, baby. 

Get the LA Bling Ring Look here

Under the Red, White and Blue

All the looks you need so not to be left in the dark on Independence Day

Fireworks! Patriotic hues will have you looking effortlessly chic and cleverly festive no matter where you view your light show this holiday.

For inspirational outfit ideas shop our Editors Picks, whether you plan to celebrate on a BEACHROOFTOPBOAT or BACKYARD 

Couture Queens

7/3/2013 7:08:00 AM

Couture Queens

There’s more couture in Paris this week than there has been for a decade. Giambattista Valli riffed on porcelain, Sevres, Wedgewood et al and Dior threw up images of the collection photographed earlier that day by Patrick Demarchelier, Terry Richardson and Paolo Reversi as backdrop and produced Brit beauty Gemma Arterton and Jennifer Lawrence on a front row packed with chic stars. Schiaperelli has been reborn under the pencil and scissors of Christian Lacroix who’d bowed out from the business four years past but was returned for a one-off season for the re-birth of this label. Shocking! Meanwhile Chanel showed in a Grand Palais deconstructed into a ruined, bombed out theatre, with a view of a futuristic city seen in the distance beyond the rubble. Derelicte! There was nothing ‘derelicte’ about a collection, shown yesterday, in which thousands of hours of expertise produces a price point of hundreds of thousands of pounds. The show was even held twice to accommodate two front row stars; Rihanna posed for the paps at show no.1 while Kristen Stewart was on hand for the second. And with Alexis Mabille’s announcement that he had teen clients who were snapping up couture pieces to attend proms in - who said couture was dead?

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Summer Wedding Blogger’s Picks: Tala Samman

Tala Samman, founder and editor of My Fash Diary chose her favorite looks for summer wedding season.

For bridesmaids it’s all about color and fun with the iridescent chiffon side drape dress. 

For the bride, the campaign featured stretch silk georgette banded dress, which has a wonderful bride ready shine and is glamorous yet comfortable.

As a guest she chose the simple and chic crinkled silk chiffon floor-length black dress. Perfect for a formal evening wedding and hours of dancing.

Shop Wedding Ready Looks

Pre-Olympics Partying in London

London is in social lockdown on day one of the Olympics. A fleet of super-yachts has sailed into the futuristic Docklands skyline of East London. The most fashionable is no doubt Microsoft man Paul Allen’s 414 ft Octopus - this is the boat that socialites jostle on to when it’s moored off Sardinia or St Barths. Stratford - where the Olympics are being held - well, that’s a whole different sort of vista. Nevertheless it’s been followed down the Thames by fellow Microsoft man Bill Gates’ boat, although the guest list on the Goygpus is more mover and shaker in the boardroom rather than the mover and shaker of the nightclub dancefloor. Despite the competition Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse is rumored to be only a matter of nautical miles away. But while Allen’s after party is one invite worth sharking for a host of landlocked parties are what is getting the city’s socials overexcited. Wednesday night at the Victoria and Albert Museum Muhammad Ali was feted at the Sports for Peace dinner with a host of our finest socials - Lady Victoria Hervey and Jemima Goldsmith - queueing to hang with Boris Becker and Bob Geldof. Or anyone interested in getting down with Warner Music’s coolest acts tonight when they throw what’s set to be the most fashion-focused bash of the week with a party in the Tanks, the newly opened space carved out underneath the Tate Modern gallery on Bankside. A host of the prettiest girls Bip Ling, Poppy Delevigne, Tallulah Harlech, and Sara Brajovic - will be getting tanked up in The Tanks. All the better for when they settle down to watch Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony extravaganza on the TV on Friday night (unless they’ve cadged a plus 1 from a visiting government minister, that is) - but then isn’t it (as everyone not invited is saying) - “made for TV anyway?”

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Illeana Hoffman’s Style Guide for the Olympics

Illeana Hoffman, contributing editor and travel writer for Travel Squire Magazine, shares with us her Olympic style guide.

For daytime causal at the games, she chooses the asymmetrical navy and white long sleeved tee, classic and sporty for the cooler days. For warmer days at the outdoor venues the choice is an effortlessly cute and easy-to-pack plaid dress.

A must have, Illeana packs the swing rain-jacket to protect herself from the ever-present London summer showers.

For evenings in the city, its the asymmetrical georgette blouse paired with black trousers for a chic mix and match look that can easily transition from day to cocktail. Lastly, every fashion gal needs a LBD that has easy evening elegance, Illeana’s choice is the Leon Max lace ballet dress.


Richard Dennen’s Top 5 London Hotspots

Tom’s Deli
226 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RH
This is the best place to start the day - a delicious cooked breakfast or healthy snack from the most relaxed outpost of the Conran family’s restaurant empire.

The Hillgate
24 Hillgate Street London W8 7SR
This is the posh pub of the moment. Populated by the Beautiful People both behind and in front of the bar.

American Bar at The Savoy
The Savoy, Strand, WC2R 0EU
If you feel like a sophisticated West End drink this is the place to go. During Prohibtion the best American bar staff headed here hence the name.

The Scotch of St James’
13 Mason’s Yard, London SW1
This is one of the trendiest clubs at the moment but has real rock history as Jimi Hendricks and the Stones both held famous gigs here.

The Box
11-12 Walker’s Court, W1
The London outpost of the famous New York boite was insane last year, packed full of the hottest girls and boys - while maybe not quite as achingly hip it’s still one of the most louche places to hang.

Leon Max Fall 2012 Campaign Star Erin O’Connor

Erin O’Connor defines fashion heritage. Famous for her cool demeanor, aquiline nose and a whiff of Bloomsbury she’s had career staying power. No wonder then that Lagerfeld dubbed her “one of the best models in the world.” From the moment she was plucked into the fashion stratosphere by Juergen Teller with a fashion spread in a 1993 issue of i-D magazine there’s been no looking back for the British supermodel. Vogue, W, Harper’s, Prada, Dior, Armani - and now Leon Max - she’s been shot by all the big guns. But Erin O’Connor is not just a pretty face. Reality tv star and writer, she is also the founder of The Model Sanctuary, the London Fashion Week model zone offering nutrition, life and health advice. If anyone has earned their spot in fashion heaven, it’s she. 

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Leon Max Receives Honorary Doctorate from University of Northampton

“Fashion is a multi-billion pound, highly competitive industry that will test your intellect, your stamina and your commitment,” Leon Max said today as he received his honourary degree from the University of Northampton at the town’s Royal and Derngate Theatre. Amidst a sea of 600 students from across their fashion and photography schools the 2012 honorand Dr Max went on to explain how he sees the contemporary fashion field; “To understand what people may want to buy requires an understanding of context against which these decisions are made. A grasp of history, culture, sociology, psychology, manufacturing technology, computer applications, logistics…..” Not to mention what every good designer needs, good pattern skills - and passion!

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Editor’s Pick: Ginnie Fraser

Ginnie Fraser, Executive Retail Editor of Vogue UK shares her favorite summer staples from the Summer 2012 collection. She notes the always on trend nature of a crisp white shirt and gives a nod to its casual pairing with a pair of cropped pants. Ginnie mentions that nautical stripes always work a dream in any season, but its pairing with a t-shirt dress with a well cut sleeve is flattering and perfectly summer.


Blogger Style: Krystal Bick of This Time Tomorrow

This Time Tomorrow fashion blogger Krystal Bick chose two of her favorite Summer dresses from the Leon Max Collection and styled them to perfection! We asked her a few questions in order to get the details on life as a blogger in San Francisco!  

What inspired you to start a fashion blog?

I’d have to say it was a total whim! I stumbled upon several personal style blogs recommended to me by friends and was immediately hooked! Plus, I figured, if nothing else, it would help me remember what items I had in my closet (I have a tendency to forget about, or misplace items in the depths of my closet). 

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style, while it’s always evolving, is largely classic with a bit of a quirky edge to it. I love combining staple pieces with statement accessories and shoes — outfits that turn things upside down a bit, if you will. A friend of mine once described her personal style as “two parts classic, one part fashion victim” which I think is such a great way of capturing my own — I love experimenting! Fashion should be fun, after all!

What has been the most exciting experience so far as a result of starting your own blog?

I’m so incredibly grateful and, quite frankly, in awe that my blog has lead me to some amazing experiences — I don’t think I’ll ever really come to terms with it, to be honest. But overall, I’d have to say the friendships I’ve made through the blogging community has been the most fulfilling part of this journey. Some of the friendships I’ve made with other bloggers I consider my strongest. 

What inspires your style? Is the city you live in a big influence on how you dress?

I get style inspiration from all over really — other street style blogs, Pinterest, movies, art, window displays. Inspiration abounds! The trick is trying to keep up with all of it! As far as San Francisco goes, the city itself has a strong street style scene (often under appreciated, if you ask me!) and I love people watching at some of my shopping haunts, namely Union Square, Fillmore Street and the Mission.

What is your favorite trend for summer? For upcoming fall?

For summer, I can’t seem to stop wearing all white looks! It’s so crisp and classic, yet makes a bold statement at the same time. And for fall — hands down, I’m all about architectural skirts. Last season, we all clambered to get ourselves a peplum that sits at the waist — now, I find myself searching for peplum hem skirts, where the flair sits at the bottom. 

What made you select these two dresses from the Leon Max Collection? How would you style them for Fall?

I love both of these dresses because I think they’ll transition really well into fall. I can see myself wearing them with chunky sweaters and studded ballet flats for more casual shopping outfits — and the mixed mesh dress is just begging to be worn with a white button front oxford shirt underneath!

Any last style tips for your fashionable fans out there?

Dress for you — people always appreciate honesty and dressing yourself really is no different. 

Shop the Looks

Artists We Love: Azealia Banks

Azealia Banks is the foul-mouthed fashionista who in a matter of months since her track “212” became a viral sensation has become the darling of the couture crowd. Trust the musically interested Kaiser Karl to book her for his Paris party back in January and then again for the Chanel opening in Japan where her performance will surely go down as one of the more interesting moments of fashion history. Sarah Jessica Parker, Karlie Kloss and Joan Smalls hardly batted an eyelid. But whatever one’s reservations about her saucy lyrics her bouncy cute style and charming manner have made her one popular hip hop princess and the perfect choice to sing at the Serpentine Summer Party which was co-hosted by Leon Max. She emerged to perform in huge wings which when she worked the stage jostled around in the most delightful, darling way. And there’s nothing more satisfying than watching hoards of socialites bouncing up and down to killa hip hop lyrics in their uptown outfits. When her set was over she scooped by her New Best Friend, the Brit IT model of the moment Cara Delevingne, and off they went together bouncing and laughing into the Serpentine sunset.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Serpentine Gallery Summer Party Co-Hosted by Leon Max

When three generations of Jaggers turn up you know you’ve got a good party. You would have thought that Bianca and her granddaughter Amba might have been having a quiet week in preparation for the rock n’ roll wedding of the year (Jade’s) at the weekend but they were having none of it. Because this year’s Serpentine Summer party co-hosted by Leon Max went with more than just the proverbial bang. First up, there was international political intrigue - of an artistic nature - as the gallery had looked to Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei as their go-to guy for the design of this year’s pavilion which he executed along with Herzog & de Meuron. Was Ai allowed to leave Beijing to attend the Hyde Park event? No wei. Then there was the art, from the gracious hand of Yoko Ono. Guests tied labels to her wish trees while Bianca stood transfixed at a screen showing John Lennon’s backside. She loved it. Then there were the guests. Erin O’Connor went for black, feathered frothery in Leon Max and Amber Le Bon went Grecian rock n’roll. Arizona Muse whispered with Cara Delevingne while fashion mavens Josephine de La Baume, Suki Waterhouse and Edie Campbell rocked out to the racy lyrics of fashion’s rapper de jour Azealia Banks. A few days later, down at Easton Neston, Leon Max’s country home and design studio a small clapped out old bus could be seen chugging around the estate. When they were intercepted the passengers, some well-worn rockers, said they were there for Jade’s wedding. “We’re the band,” they claimed. “I think we’ve had enough parties for this week,” Mr Max murmured after their realization that they’d gone to the wrong house and had chugged off down the drive in hot pursuit of their rock n’ roll quarry.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen