Max Studio Blog

Fade To Black

10/31/2014 2:55:00 AM


Black is back: it’s official. And not a moment too soon. It’s all Hallow’s Eve, of course, so what better moment to channel some dark inspiration from the Metropolitan’s appropriately timed new exhibition: “Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire.” It’s the 19th century, natch. A century presided over by an iconic Queen and Empress - Victoria - who spent the majority of her reign dressed to mourn her beloved Prince Consort, Albert. 1815-1915 was a hundred years when death was so fetishized it virtually kept the dress couturiers in business alone. Would you have looked better in ‘full mourning’ or 'half-morning’? Go see if death becomes you; Happy Hallowe'en from Leon Max and MaxStudio.

All The Fun Of The Frieze

10/27/2014 9:52:00 AM




By Oscar Humphries


Frieze and the fairs and events that surround it continue to evolve and this last week saw the worlds of fashion, design and art collide. Gucci came on board as a sponsor for Frieze Masters - adding Italian glamour to this art fair which makes its focus art made before the year 2000. It’s talented young director, Victoria Sidall, encouraged the participating galleries to bring their very best material to London. The result was triumphant with Marlborough Gallery presenting a Francis Bacon solo-stand and Dickinson Gallery doing a stellar wall of ‘rose period’ Picassos… It added a gravitas to a schedule that largely celebrated the new.

It was impossible to see everything but everyone I spoke to was raving about the Sigmar Polke show at the Tate Modern (which you may have seen at MOMA) and Glenn Ligon’s superb exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre. What’s unique about Frieze week is that you can see work by artists - living and dead - in these museum shows and then go to Phillips (their monolithic new building on Berkeley Square opened to much fanfare this week), Christies, or Sothebys to buy work by these artists at Auction. Indeed the collectors and dealers that rule the art world were a presence in both sale rooms and VIP rooms at PAD, Frieze, and Frieze Masters. The new art world is one in which the public, the private, and the commercial co-exist in near (and sometimes far from near) harmony.

It’s impossible to see everything although I know ambitious collectors who were going to seven events per night. The best way to see everyone if not everything was to go to Chiltern Fire House where Larry Gagosian gave one of several dinner and where, on Thursday night, the artist Marc Quinn and Apple’s new hire Mark Newson sat encamped.

I launched my new magazine with PAD’s wonderful and generous fair director Patrick Perrin on the Wednesday night. And whist I lost hordes of people to the Frieze Masters / Gucci party at the Italian Embassy, to the ICA dinner, to the White Cube dinner and the super cool Sothebys contemporary party we were 92 for baked potatoes and caviar. In a week of air kissing and record prices my dinner felt distinctly friends and family, thank God.

Oscar Humphries is the Editor and Publisher of The Art Book.

Hollywood Costume

10/24/2014 10:51:00 AM


Leon and Yana Max recently attended a private view of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ ‘Hollywood Costume’ exhibition, held -appropriately - at the historic Wilshire May Company Building, Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles - designated the future, shining, mothership for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.   The show, originally held at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is a rollercoaster ride through 150 of the most famous costumes to be seen on the silver screen; star attractions include Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones, Kate Winslet’s Titanic glamour as well as vintage glories such as Dorothy’s Wizard of Oz. Well worth a visit.


“Certainly no overcast English sky was going to dampen proceedings at the IWC Schaffhausen and BFI London Film Festival opening gala dinner - it was the big event of the week, here in London.

And so the celebrity set descended on Battersea Park; Emily Blunt, Douglas Booth, Stephen Fry, Julie Walters, Mick Jagger, and Erin O'Connor, a former face of Leon Max were all there. They dined on grass-fed beef and truffle tagliatelle, they laughed as British comic legends Walters and Stephen Fry were presented with the ‘Honorary Award in Recognition for Outstanding Contribution to Comedy’ - and they gave them a standing ovation too.

I saw Marc Jacobs model Eliza Cummings cozying up to Topshop heiress Chloe Green while Stephen Fry was embarrassed to admit that he had worn the wrong brand of watch (rather than a piece from IWC) he was sporting an expensive Patek Phillipe design which he hid when I enquired about his timepiece…

And, of course, they partied into the early hours  - let’s hope they aren’t too tired for the next 12-days that is the movie marathon of the London Film Festival.  I’ve already seen Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley taking to the West End streets to promote their films - I wonder who we’ll spot next?”

Paris By Night

10/10/2014 10:43:00 AM

Paris by Night

Love it, or hate it, the Kardashian Wests took Paris this Fashion Week. There was the Big Moment as they arrived at the Balmain show and sat with baby North on knee on the Front Row. There was Carine Roitfeld’s party for the new issue of her mag and there the Big Moment was when Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci arrived with Kim Kardashian on one arm (Kanye had already performed earlier in the week at shoe designer Pierre Hardy’s 15th anniversary,) and Ciara on the other. Justin Bieber came too. And Paris Hilton…

But there are some who still opt for a more low-key, non-Kardashian approach it seems. There was Stella McCartney who went a bit London (if that’s possible in Paris) with a concert at Silencio filled with the Brit Pack, Edie Campbell et al. There was the Chloé party which was paired down French cool and Marianne Faithful sang huskily and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a former face of Leon Max, shimmered luxuriously.

But it was the last night of the week which was the most discreet and yet seemingly the most cool and fun; Louis Vuitton, and its dinner and dance for its design team and and their close circle of friends at the newly re-furbed and legendary club, Castel. There were actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve, a pop star Robyn, and they dined with designer Nicolas Ghesquiere and toasted his second Vuitton collection. And - quelle horreur - there wasn’t a bodyguard or a VIP room in sight.


10/30/2013 10:11:00 AM


This week Country Life, the magazine found on the coffee table of any self-respecting English stately home, features the Leon Max Quilted Vest.  We were thrilled when Luxury Editor, Hetty Chidwick, chose our sleeveless jacket for her style edit ‘Be Outstanding in the Field’. This stylish, leather trimmed gilet is both practical and rural-chic. Country wear, however, is no longer the reserve of the smart country set. This season urban stylistas have been spotted layering padded vests over sleek cashmere, pairing tweed with designer denim and wearing waxed jackets over feminine dresses - it’s the new twist on downtown cool.

See our Easton Neston Limited Country Collection here

Night of Stars

10/24/2013 8:28:00 AM

Night of Stars

New York last night – the annual Night of Stars ceremony, now in its 30th year, is when the city feels the force of its stars of fashion. Brit IT Alexa Chung was at the ceremony held at Cipriani appropriate in cute Christopher Kane to hand the designer his ‘Fashion Star’ award, with model Sara Blomqvist on hand in floral and tulle Kane too. Sports Illustrated and Vogue cover girl Kate Upton was in Burgundy scooped neck Alaia carrying a gold clutch to present Carine Roitfeld with her ‘Media’ award and Miley Cyrus wore sparkly Marc Jacobs to present the designer with his ‘Superstar’ award.  And what about that Zoe Kravitz looking wow in an Alexander Wang black crocodile crop top with flowing skirt? Meanwhile nothing was getting in the way of the models enjoying Aretha Franklin’s performance – not even Joan Smalls fierce Tom Ford sandals.

Contributing Editor Richard Dennen. 


10/21/2013 7:58:00 AM


The Frieze Art Fair: the only show where inanimate objects have a heavier security detail than the celebrities viewing them, loo rolls can cost as much as a house, and anyone can stand shoulder to shoulder with Puff Daddy.

French artist JR kicked off the week with a satellite exhibit that graffitied the floor at Somerset House with portraits of those passing through. The public lined up in the masses to be involved – and to ogle at his glamorous Parisian entourage.

Another installation that allowed for an interesting bit of audience participation was Jennifer Rubell’s self-portrait at 9 months pregnant.  Having recently had a baby myself it was amusing to be on the fetal end of the relationship, and a relief that exiting the sculpture is easier than the birthing process.

Of course, there was as much studying of the Frieze attendees and their attire, as there was of the works on the walls. Vanity Fair said that all the trendies are wearing tartan in the big tent - so I was very pleased to have my Leon Max skirt on!

Martha Freud designs and creates furniture, lighting and tableware. Much of her current work uses light to highlight or create depth and relationships.

Martha is wearing our Turtleneck Ribbed Sweater Dress, our Jersey Long Sleeved Top with Neck Detail and the coveted Wool Plaid Skirt, topped off with a Large Cashmere Shawl.


This wool plaid mini-skirt is one of the Leon Max and Max Studio lines most popular pieces in the UK. Highlighted in this month’s Vogue, fashionista Lady Emily Horner was spotted snapping one up at the Westbourne Grove boutique. It’s bang on the rage for all things plaid, tartan and Highland check, one of the season’s hottest trends seen on the catwalks of Stella McCartney, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton. Take Rita Ora in Paris wearing a red plaid biker style jacket, or Cara Delevingne’s red tartan trousers. Even the Home Secretary, Theresa May, caused a stir in a Westwood Anglomania trouser suit at the recent Tory Party conference. Let’s hope that who wears plaid, wins.

See the Wool Plaid Skirt here

Contributing Editor Richard Dennen

Caped Crusader

10/7/2013 2:05:00 AM

Caped Crusader 

The Leon Max cape is fast becoming a staple in the wardrobes of London’s fashion forward socials. Seen on Pippa Middleton last weekend, shown here en route to a shooting weekend in Scotland, the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister proved that the camel cape in heavy wool with a menswear-inspired silhouette (a colour and cut incidentally inspired by designer Leon Max’s country estate) is de rigueur for a weekend in the wilds. Last spring the single-breasted cape in black wool was also a hit with Miss Middleton. Meanwhile last week in London it made an appearance wafting out of Annabel’s in Mayfair, this time in black jacquard with a draped shoulder and cuffed armholes. It seems this piece is now de rigueur for chic night owls. It gives a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to a night out on the tiles, don’t you think?




Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Easton Neston in Country Life Magazine

Check this week’s Country Life for an inside sneak peak into designer Leon Max’s fabulous English countryside home, Easton Neston. It’s also the base for his European design studio. On his signature style, Leon explains: “there is definitely a Eurocentric sensibility. I respect tradition and I tend to bend rather than to break the rules.” It’s here where much of the inspiration for these collections begin with “all the beautiful antiques and pictures with their faded elegance and the beautifully laid out vistas”. 

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Leon Max private shopping event

Amazing what a good dose of champagne and elderflower can do. After a few early evening rounds at Leon Max, the tills were positively ringing. In between bites of sushi and mini Yorkshire puddings, Martha Ward, Lucy Gormanston and Sacha Forbes bought up cashmere scarves, crisp shirts and must-have handbags. Then, when they weren’t tapping their toes to the Scoundrels or looking approvingly at front man Ned Wyndham, guests compared purchases and had a good catch-up. All this, and they were home in time for dinner. Top marks.

For the full story:

Photographs NICK HARVEY

Halloween 2012

10/31/2012 9:50:00 AM

Halloween 2012

I had mixed emotions as I looked at the calendar this month and found that my favorite Holiday, Halloween, would fall on, by far, the scariest, most confusing and ultimately most expensive days of the week- Wednesday. 

Known as hump day to those of you working a 9-5 for none of the reasons that you wish it was called that, Wednesday is the furthest day away from the weekend and therefore the most taxing when it comes to party Holidays. The most notable dilemma after figuring out what to wear, is of course trying to figure out when to where it! Then having to decide what to wear for all SIX of the nights of parties.

While some may find this taxing, I like to think of it as a challenge to change my point of view when it comes to my closet.  What was once a belt, could now somehow be appropriate as a costume… namely as Jodie Marsh, if anyone in America knew who she was, because if there is anything that is requisite in a Halloween costume it’s that it has to be sexy.  This year I had to somehow come up with 6 different costumes for the 6 nights of the week, Friday – Wednesday, that Halloween will be raging this year for a range of parties that could only happen in The City of Angels. 

Friday night there was the Kandy Halloween party at the Playboy Mansion with performances by LMFAO and Diddy, over 1,000 scantily clad girls in flammable underwear and of course Hugh Hefner surrounded by not so virginal youths in vampire teeth- all irony seemingly lost on the surrounding party guests.  Saturday, it was a Brit night when I picked up shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood and headed over to the star of Revenge, Ashley Madekwe’s Halloween party at Hyde with her entire cast including fellow Brit Josh Bowman dressed as “Where’s Wally”.   Sunday, just when we were in the mood for a movie and some takeaway, we dressed again and it was up to the hills for Paris Hilton’s Halloween bash at hers with none other than the Swedish House Mafia djing.  Monday saw an Eyes Wide Shut meets CBGB’s Rock n Roll Masquerade Ball at the very first Midnight Vulture Social Club at Vignette on Melrose with ghoulish burlesque shows  and on Tuesday…  even the wicked rested. 

Coming up with costume ideas in a town where you are most likely to be standing beside the person who immortalized the character you are dressed as on the big screen can be exhausting so I’ve come up with my own recipe for Fancy Dress: A little naughty and a little nice with a dash of cheeky all wrapped up in designer clothes that has yet to fail me.

This Halloween Night I plan to don a pair of black and gold platform Charlotte Olympia shoes,  a sexy pink Agent Provocateur underwear set complete with hold ups, just barely covered up by a beautiful hand painted vintage kimono held together by a corseted Dolce and Gabbana belt and topped off with my favorite fancy dress accessory- a huge pink Care Bear head. 

Where I’ll go, I still don’t know as the destination and host of the party invitation I have is kept is spookily under wraps like a 1990’s rave in Manchester to add to the fear factor. But whatever is in the works, you can be sure that if it’s in Los Angeles and it’s on Halloween it’s going to be hot- and I don’t mean the temperature. 

Contributing Editor: Margo Stilley 

Skyfall: Royal World Premier 

10/24/2012 2:12:00 AM

Skyfall: Royal World Premier 

The name’s Max. Leon Max. Works every time doesn’t it? Well that gag was all the rage last night in London which saw the most glamorous film premiere in years landed on the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington; for the new Bond film, the 23rd in fact, Skyfall. It might have been the fact that the reviews have been very good. It might have been it was a grand gala premiere in the Royal Presence of the Prince of Wales and the fragrant Duchess of Cornwall. Or it might have just been that London was in the mood to party, either way a huge cheer went up when Daniel Craig - Bond - alighted onto the red carpet. Even he admitted it was the best of the films yet. But these films and last night were about one thing - the Girls and the Glamour. London beauty and Bond girl Naomie Harris was there. And Craig had his wife siren, Rachel Weisz on his arm. But then there was also the new Bond girl, Berenice Marlohe looking to die for. She even went one step further than the others and changed into Frock No.2 for the glam after party thrown in the industrial environs of the Tate Modern. There the Fiennes family was also out in force, actor Ralph phalanxed either side by his sisters, Sophie and Martha, both film directors. They were suitably impressed by the decor - the main hall of the art gallery was cast as a Shanghai street scene replete with Chinese Dragon. The real deal.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Mario Testino Exhibit: “In Your Face”

Could there be a better time to head to Boston? If Mario Testino thinks now is the time then maybe it’s a good idea - because where the Peruvian photographer goes the fashion flock is sure to follow. “In Your Face” is the first stand alone US exhibition from the world’s most glamorous photographer - from Kate Moss to Kate Middleton, is there anyone fabulous he hasn’t shot? And many of them turned out for the preview night earlier in the week. Joan Smalls joked of how Tower of Babel-esque his technique was on shoots as he snaps from one of the four languages he speaks to another barking orders at subject and crew. Gisele was there too laughing about how he was the only photographer who’d managed to get her bottom onto the cover of a magazine. Still, Boston did seem a perverse choice for the great Testino’s first US stand alone show. What was that all about? “I once did a talk  at the Museum and thought there was such a nice crowd. The director then asked me about doing an exhibition I was surprised that a city that seems to me quite conservative would be interested in my work,” Testino explained. It was.

“In Your Face” is at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts from October 21.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Mia Pearlman Art Installation at Maxstudio Westbourne Grove

Last December at Art Miami Basel Mia Pearlman was the talk of the town. Young, hot and cool makes you a hot shot and cool cat on that scene. A New Yorker, Pearlman is all of these things. But she’s also the woman of the moment when it comes to paper. Lots of paper. She is an artist who uses paper to make pieces of living, breathing art that deals with the natural world and uncertainty. She’s currently got exhibitions of her work being held in Spain and Rome, as well as a giant cut paper installation on view at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. And as if that wasn’t enough she’s working on a huge, permanent indoor-outdoor site specific installation for Liberty Mutual’s new headquarters in Boston (which will be made of stainless steel and aluminum) as well as a another steel project for the NYC subway and a cut paper sculpture in a show in Manchester, England. “To me the most interesting thing that’s happening in art is the use of the internet,” explains Mia from the Leon Max store on Westbourne Grove, London where she has been putting the finishing touches to her latest commission, “artists from all over the world have access to each other’s work and to resources, images, information, collectors, fans and ideas in a way that was never before possible.” She is mad about other sculptors  (for example, Richard Serra, Judy Pfaff and Louise Bourgeois) and loved seeing the Tony Craggs installed near the V&A in London. “But I am just as influenced by nature, imagination, and travel,” she explains, “My recent work has been deeply influenced by the Italian Baroque, as a result of the time I’ve spent in Rome, and by Japanese screen painting of the Rinpa school.” She also loves fashion. “Artists and fashion people are interested in many of the same things but express it differently: color, form, texture, personal expression, timeliness, innovation,” she says. For Mia after a day at the artistic grind stone she morphs into silk dresses. “I like Sexy, beautiful,” she says, “in colder months I tend toward skinny denim or velvet jeans with a dramatic, sculptural top.” Trend-wise she is very influenced by the 1930’s, and watches movies from the period for fashion inspiration. “I also collect art deco furniture,” she adds, all about the aesthetics of the 20’s and 30’s. “My style is glamorous, grown up and heavy on jewel tones and geometric prints. I love draping, asymmetry and interesting yet figure-flattering cuts. I’m a stickler for perfect fit and impeccable construction,” she says. And her buy of the season? “A pair of red suede shoes to wear with my new black wool Leon Max cape, of course.”

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Maxstudio Autumn at the Ain Koenig House

The featured imagery is from the ready-to-wear Autumn 2012 photoshoot held at the Ain Koenig house in Hollywood, CA. The shoot highlights Maxstudio casual knits, leggings and accessories which are seasonal must-haves. The imagery captures the ease of California living while highlighting the modernism and simplicity of the house designed by Gregory Ain with a guest house designed by Pierre Koenig. In the shots highlighted above notice the asymmetrical draping of the sweater and the role it plays in enhancing the graphic nature of the steps. Such use of shape in both clothing and architecture is seen throughout the shoot in further imagery to be featured throughout the season.

The Devil Wore Chanel

10/11/2012 12:27:00 PM

The Devil Wore Chanel

Every fashion editor since the ’60s has been considered it their relationship to Diana Vreeland - the great, the glorious, the waspish goddess of high fashion who coined the word ‘Pizzazz’ and changed the face of fashion editorial. She was the archetypal eccentric, flamboyant, tyrant who could give left field pronouncements from everything from hemlines to pink being the navy blue of India. Immordino Vreeland never got the opportunity to meet her husbands grandmother, but using archive news and audio recordings she has spun a documentary around the life and interests of the first pop star, in ‘The Eye Has to Travel.’ It was this editrix who after being fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar went on to rule Vogue from 1962 to 1971 with an cool, calm and icy grip. Gone were the dowdy socialites and in was Hollywood. Gone were the stilted, carefully crafted studio shoots and in were editorials from far flung, random corners of the world. Though she had never visited Mongolia or Russia she had done so in her mind. Her imagination was wild. Living with such a tough eccentric visionary may not have been easy for her sons who give a the documentary its personal slant, Immordino Vreeland may have been fortunate not to have met her grandmother-in-law - one can’t imagine her the easiest of matriarch’s to have grown up with. But then that’s also given the film maker some distance between her and her subject. A very fabulous one at that. 

‘The Eye Has to Travel’ is in cinemas now.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen 

Paris Fashion Week

10/5/2012 1:47:00 AM

Paris Fashion Week

Yes Paris Fashion Week has been all about the Raf v. Hedi, the Dior v. YSL thing. But actually by far the most important and interesting moment was the opening of the “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity” show at the Musee D’Orsay. This is a neat look into the Parisiennes’ fashionista forebears, oceans of lace and tulle flowing off Manet’s ‘Le Balcon’ and into Bazille’s ‘Reunion de famille.’ “The Parisienne isn’t fashionable. She IS fashion,” pointed out Arsene Houssaye in 1869.

The 21st century descendant was out in force this week, she of the smokey eye, Carine Roitfeld, who now seems to make a habit of throwing a ball during Paris. All very Manet’s ‘Le Balcon’ really. It will come as no surprise to fashion world followers that the former Paris Vogue editrix decreed that dressing black and wearing a smokey eye were musts for the ball she threw as the week of shows was coming to a close. And, boy, did they come. In the black corner were the Delevigne sisters oozing chic in Pucci, leaning off the arm of its designer, Peter Dundas. He had a rather fetching eyeliner motif surrounding les yeux - his secret? Getting Poppy D to practice his eyeliner skills. Arizona Muse was also in a look from the Florentine house. Joan Smalls smoked in Gucci and Anna dello Russo in a Blow-like hat structure with mesh tumbling over her face showed just enough lip to be able to air kiss and accept the flowing compliments on her fresh H and M line which had premiered earlier in the week. The young designers were out too - Wang, Tisci, Ackerman - what wouldn’t they do for Carine? And when you throw Valentino and Karl into the mix. Well, Manet would certainly have approved.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Photo Credit: Getty Images