Loved by celebrities, daughters, mothers, and grandmothers, the Max Mara coat is truly timeless.
What makes an icon? In the fast-moving world of luxury fashion, it’s the simplest designs that have staying power—something you, your mom, and your grandmother would be equally likely to wear and enjoy. The Max Mara coat is one of those designs, having first appeared in 1981 from a sketch by designer Anne-Marie Beretta. Nearly forty years later, the shape is still in demand, making it one of the most iconic garments in modern fashion.
Why It’s Special
While the initial design spawned several variants (The Manuela, The Teddy, and The Cube), a perennial desire for the classic Max Mara “101801” coat is thanks to a few key design elements that make it flattering to all shapes and dissociate it from fleeting trends:
- A gently oversized silhouette, kimono sleeve construction, and double-breast closure, the combination of which allows the garment to drape and move freely whether fastened or left open. The combination of these elements also allows a variety of garments to be worn underneath the coat, from a silky slip dress to a full business suit.
- A wool and cashmere fabric blend for the right balance of warmth, durability, and softness.
- The classic camel color, which is universally flattering, appropriate for day or night, and complementary with nearly all colors.
- It’s made by hand in Italy to an exacting standard of material and production quality.
That so many Max Mara coats have been passed down within families—or appear in resale shops in as-new condition—is the last element that gives the iconic design an extra dash of uniqueness. We have a hard time brainstorming other designs that are as universally appealing.
The Max Mara Coat: Instant Celebrity
Few other garment designs have withstood so many years of passing trends or have been photographed on the backs of movie stars, musicians, and high-profile tastemakers alike. From Julia Roberts to Taylor Swift, in a rainbow of hues, paired with baggy jeans and rugged boots or with formal gowns, there is always the familiar drape of the Max Mara coat.
The brand has been in the spotlight lately, even more than usual, due to its central role in American political stories and its bold embrace of colors outside the standard palette. Back in 2018, Max Mara was trending after U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wore a tomato red Max Mara coat called “the Glamis” to a meeting with President Trump. The wardrobe choice sparked a social media frenzy of viral memes, and in response to the fanfare, the brand reissued the style, originally from a 2013 collection. Since then, the red coat has become a symbol of protest.
More recently, Vogue called Max Mara’s The Teddy this season’s It coat—a statement in bold color and volume.
How to Wear It
With any iconic item, especially if you’re a collector, it’s advisable to start with the standard shape and color as this type of item forms the foundation of a versatile wardrobe. For Max Mara, the double-breasted in camel fits this bill. However, many of the variants are becoming instant classics in their own right. We love The Teddy coat for its classic silhouette combined with a fresh, fluffy finish. It’s available on italist in covetable colors like turquoise (recently spotted on Céline Dion), caramello, and metallic-flecked charcoal, as well as neutral, timeless colors like gray.
And if you don’t want to go full trendy but like a pop of color, the turquoise Teddy look is also available in a belt bag, perfect for toting the essentials in true winter style.
Any Max Mara coat you choose will look especially chic with crisp white trousers, with one of Max Mara’s own iconic skirts, over denim jeans and sneakers, or with knee-high winter boots and fine knit tops.
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