Designed for women with self-confidence who face life with determination and joie de vivre, constantly looking for only the best to be beautiful and seductive: this is Sportmax today.
All the proposals of SPORTMAX are, in fact, made with care, precision and precious materials and aimed at women who are rather fashion conscious than trend victims. Each garment is studied meticulously down to the last detail (from the choice of fabric, to the cut, the assembly and luxury finishing details) in the name of a new type of tailoring for women, poetic and up-to-the-minute, to enhance and bring out the best in the woman who wears it, with great care to innovative elements, wearability and fit, true and proper strengths of the many consolidated benchmark items in today’s wardrobe.
Dresses are the crowning glory of every collection (all skilfully tailored, capable of enhancing the beauty and femininity of a body of any shape and size), coats and jackets (with new shapes and materials each season), trousers (a best seller throughout the world), and finally knitwear in an infinite array of designs and materials and complementary items and fashion accessories. In a wealth of proposals, where design, a mixture of materials and versatile inspirations are combined even in the same garment. Elegance with unassuming, unpredictable simplicity which stands out due to the meticulous attention to detail. Just like the refined, essential symbol which marks each SPORTMAX garment: a tiny, bright Swarovski crystal, hand-sewn onto each garment always in a different place. A precious detail, an unobtrusive gem, a touch of light and a concession to the vanity in every woman.

RETAIL

Now present in over 70 countries, with deliveries made at various stages to ensure a constant restocking to the large number of stores on each continent, divided into two large sections referred to as COLLEZIONE (COLLECTION) and DEFILE' (FASHION SHOWS), the SPORTMAX brand celebrated this first decade of 2000 by launching a retail project under its own brand: in other words, an extremely selective, innovative distribution programme, which will be articulated with the opening of high end stores, with a very distinctive identity, planned and designed by the best architects in the most important locations around the world: from Paris to New York, from Hong Kong to Shanghai and, starting with the Spring/Summer 2011 collection, in via della Spiga 20 in Milan. 

THE WORLD OF SPORTMAX

To round off, within a precise industrial strategy which aims at offering a range to suit all women on different occasions, SPORTMAX has developed one related line: SPORTMAX CODE, dedicated to informal, contemporary wear, with an excellent price-quality ratio and a particular focus on denim ("perfect fit" jeans are already a cult item): which concentrates on swimwear, accessories and beachwear fashion. The SPORTMAX collection is completed with accessories such as bags, shoes and costume jewellery specially created by its design team. There is no shortage of special projects, such as "Carte Blanche", a small capsule collection, which is created every year in collaboration with a young star selected from the most interesting talents in the global world of art. The first two editions saw the collaboration of: Christophe Brunnquell and Kim Gordon.

Read more about the History of Sportmax

CAMPAIGNS

The SPORTMAX style is aimed at the modern woman, bold and self-ironic, reflected by the icons which have appeared in glossy magazine advertisements over the years, brought to life by the best-known fashion photographers in the world. Sarah Moon, for example, who in 1970 put her signature on the first poetic, timeless shop window posters for 5 years, followed by Hans Feurer, one of the living legends in the world of fashion photography. Yet again, the Italian Gianbarberis, Albert Watson and Peter Lindbergh, who immortalised top models and new faces in the mid-Eighties (for example a very young and still unknown Jasmine Le Bon, and an unripe Carla Bruni, now France’s first lady). These were followed by Marc Hom, Dusan Reljin, Inez van Lamsweerde, Vinoodh Matadin and Mert&Marcus in more recent times. Up to the contemporary miss Modernist for Autumn/Winter 2010/2011 or the punch mademoiselles Butterfly of this Spring/Summer, in the images taken by famous American photographer David Sims, who has photographed the collections of the last four seasons.

Innovative, seductive and special: SPORTMAX has been one of the top-of-the-range brands of Max Mara, the large industrial group based in Reggio Emilia, for over 40 years. It boasts 2,258 stores, with collections presented in over 10,000 multi-brand stores in 105 countries world-wide, making it one of the most important manufacturers of prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) fashion both in Italy and at international level. The company has always had a forward-looking approach to changes in style, in line with the changes in consumption (and costumes); in this regard SPORTMAX has distinguished itself over the years as the most dynamic collection, thanks to fashion proposals and research which have taken into consideration values such as practicality and industrial expertise, which mark the underlying philosophy of the MAX MARA GROUP.

MAX MARA was founded in 1951 by entrepreneur Achille Maramotti, following a family tradition. As early as the late seventeenth century, his great-grandmother - Marina Rinaldi – owned an important dressmaking atelier at the heart of the city, whilst his mother – Giulia Fontanesi Maramotti - founded one of the most famous schools for dressmaking at that time, with the aim of offering a training and a job to girls and young women in Italy in the post-war period. Immediately after graduating in Law, Achille Maramotti – following his entrepreneurial intuition and great passion for modern style and creativity – founded what was described as one of the first clothing factories in Italy, specializing initially in the production of top-of-the-range overcoats and fitted suits. High quality, elegant bon ton designs inspired by French haute couture, yet with a touch of Italian flair, were mass produced thanks to innovative manufacturing techniques. 

As time passed, encouraged by the results achieved, the industrial production of MAX MARA continued to concentrate on high quality tailored overcoats, but gradually diversified more and more to offer garments for women of different types, shapes and ages. Following this strategy, MAX MARA POP was launched way back in 1965: a range aimed at a younger target group. The jackets and paletots in the POP range were shorter, more lively and minute compared to those in the classic MAX MARA range (these were the years of Swinging London and Carnaby Street). The use of bold colours was frequent and contrasting colours were used for inserts or combinations, inspired by the futuristic trend of the moment. The press release at that time reads: “modern life has encouraged girls to get out of the home, creating new needs, and the necessity to meet the new desire instilled in young people by the cinema, magazines and television to dress like their idols (cover girls, actors and singers). Girls love to vary their wardrobe and are on the lookout for new, stylish garments with a particular look”. These were the years which saw a switch from tailor-made garments to ready-made fashion. Moreover, anticipating the years to come with extreme far-sightedness, Maramotti decided to entrust the creative design of this new brand not to a designer or so-called "figurinista" (the fashion designers in that period), but to Lison Bonfils, famous ex-model and editor of the French edition of the top fashion magazine, Elle. 

SPORTMAX was launched in 1969 as the natural revolution of this range and was created entirely by the internal design staff. Compared to POP, however, although aimed primarily at consumers with a younger mentality, it stood out thanks to a more diversified and modern range: it was the first example of a coordinated, total look wardrobe which originated from the sportswear style (a word used at that time to define that casual style made up of mix-n-match separates) imported from the US, which was becoming more and more popular and was also referred to in the name of the new brand. It represented a wardrobe complete with the masculine tailor-made spirit, made up of robe coats, tweed Knickerbocker trousers, small pullovers, tartan kilts and blouses and waistcoats in cable knitted fabrics worn with moccasins and knee-high socks which could be purchased separately and put together at the customer’s own will. As the first press release stated: “SPORTMAX is born. Young fashion suitable for all occasions. A coordinated wardrobe, in which all garments can be combined with each other. A new way of dressing which will fill you with enthusiasm, too”. It was a totally new way of interpreting and designing clothes which also required an intense industrial reorganization (as production was now extended to new categories of goods, such as knitwear), which immediately aroused a great deal of attention from the press and consumers alike: this extremely innovative approach continues to leave its bold mark on SPORTMAX also today.

From then on, in fact, SPORTMAX evolved from season to season, from collection to collection, experimenting with state of the art materials and technical solutions (including, to name just a few, spinnaker fabrics, snap fasteners and the insertion of plastic materials), at the same time anticipating all the latest trends. One example is the ‘over-size’ fashion or the ethnic mood, which was proposed for the first time in a famous autumn/winter collection in 1971-1972, which stirred quite a discussion (earning a lengthy, dedicated article in Vogue Italia in November that year, complete with photographs of Oliviero Toscani and model Donna Jordan). Born “by filtering elements of folk and pop through design and bearing in mind new manufacturing systems which are a far cry from conventional systems” (according to Vogue), it took inspiration from the bi-dimensional models of ethnic costumes for coats and snug robe manteaux, made up in a size to fit all. And, for the first time – contrary to the traditional tailoring methods still used up to that time – the jackets and overcoats proposed were completely unlined. This was a stylistic decision which required special manufacturing systems, obtained by fine tuning advanced, exclusive technology for the production of fabrics, which redeveloped the famous Rimoldi sewing machines. Photographs of this collection appeared immediately on the covers of the most important magazines, a collection that was designed in collaboration with designer Nanni Strada and is an example of the extent of the research made by SPORTMAX even in those years. It also goes to show the type of relationship which existed between external designers and the internal design staff, which was to become one of the chief aspects of the MAX MARA GROUP: the success of a collection is not, in fact, due to the work of a single person but more one of team work. For this reason, the names of the people making up the teams are never expressly disclosed, although they have included, over the years, well-known talents and names (as far as SPORTMAX is concerned) such as Odile Lançon, Guy Paulin or Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.

SPORTMAX made its catwalk debut on 18th March 1976 at the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan (whilst Max Mara began its fashion shows in 1983), and immediately became a much longed-for event in the Milan fashion shows. From this moment SPORTMAX, which stood out thanks to its strong, innovative technical spirit and its fresh, experimental style, became a permanent date on the calendar of the Milan fashion shows, proving to be one of the most important names of the "Made in Italy" phenomenon which was beginning to assert itself in those years.

Whilst the MAX MARA range was beginning to gain a reputation as a collection of modern elegance with precious materials and a clean, refined cut, during the Seventies and right through to the end of the Eighties, SPORTMAX developed its own role as trend-setter of the Group, open to the most varied impulses and changes in fashion, which were interpreted by the company’s internal design department with the support of freelance designers. With the desire to be a “young range designed by young people”, however, starting from the mid-Eighties, the company began concentrating its search for collaborators on “young talents”, who were recruited thanks to a careful ‘scouting’ procedure at the most prestigious fashion schools in the world, such as the Royal College of Arts in London.

The Nineties saw an intense consolidation of the group, both from a stylist point of view and with regard to its commercial set up, with a relentless global expansion to include all new markets. At the same time, SPORTMAX carefully and promptly grasped all the great trends of the decade: from the layering design to the minimal, glam, grunge and new romantic styles, thanks to proposals which were to precisely and constantly define the style codes of the brand.

Now in the third millennium, SPORTMAX has reached a new maturity and thus proposes fashion which anticipates and synthesizes the major themes of the moment, thanks to constant research into the cut, colours, manufacturing techniques, materials and programmed industrial solutions, whilst maintaining its very special heritage. It distinguishes itself as a collection with global appeal and a strong identity, in the same way as those women who today choose to wear SPORTMAX for its freshness, timeless glamour and unconventional femininity. All these concepts are reflected in the design of the garments: dresses and accessories defined by continuous innovation of design, combined with a strong, unmistakable style.

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