On managing his resort brand MC2 Saint Barth and the style philosophies he lives by
In the niche market for season-specific resortwear, there are a few names that have been mastering the art of vacation dressing for years. MC2 Saint Barth is one of the best, blending Italian craftsmanship and design sensibilities with a Caribbean flair.
The label’s cheerful swimsuits, accessories, and ready-to-wear collections are just the thing you’ll want to grab before you head to any beachside escape this summer. We reached Max Ferrari, the brand’s founder, to discuss his inspirations and what it’s like to run a niche apparel line like MC2 Saint Barth.
Q: Tell us a bit about your background. What brought you to work in the luxury resortwear space?
A: I would say that the encounter with the world of beachwear was casual, not studied or planned, perhaps somehow there was a destiny, and it all started when we were lucky enough to visit and attend the island of Saint Barth, which I immediately fell in love with. I was able to grasp the atmosphere, the lifestyle and the soul, which I then transmitted to the MC2 Saint Barth garments from the very first collection.
Q: You launched MC2 Saint Barth in 1994 (26 years ago!). How has the brand and the business changed over the last few years?
A: The brand has always maintained its soul over the years, has maintained its identity and its distinctive features have never changed…knowing how to adapt to changes in the world of fashion and broadening its vision. We also believed a lot in the world of collaborations with partners close to us and focused only on the markets and distribution channels that could have enhanced our brand, without forcing the search for growth.
Q: What’s your favorite aspect of Caribbean style? What’s the essence of MC2 Saint Barth?
A: My favorite aspect of the Caribbean style, and of St. Barth in particular, are the colors, the joy, the irony, and the ability to play down and not always take life so seriously, but always know how to find a reason to smile. And this is also the essence of the MC2 Saint Barth style.
Q: You’ve done limited edition and capsule collections dedicated to destinations like Ibiza, Portofino, and Los Angeles, as well as with cartoon characters like Disney’s Mickey Mouse. You seem to have a lot of fun with the designs—are they a reflection of your own hobbies and passions?
A: The capsules dedicated to seaside resorts are created to pay homage to some of the most beautiful places in the world and in which our style fits perfectly.
Furthermore, many of those who frequent this location are not mere tourists but people who, in these places, feel at home; this unites them with the customers of our brand, who are loyal customers and that once they buy and try our product they still look for it and give it away.
Q: What makes MC2 Saint Barth garments special? Any details that are unique to the brand?
A: MC2 Saint Barth garments are characterized by research and attention to the smallest details, both in the design and production phases. Only what satisfies us and truly represents us is actually achieved. What we think makes our garments special is the passion that is put by the whole team to help create a unique product.
Q: Though the brand is rooted in the tropical, summertime aesthetic, was it difficult to make the transition to winter and ski apparel?
A: I had been thinking about designing a winter collection for some time. I did it only when I felt I had found the right inspiration to be able to bring my world and my ideas, not only to the heat and the sea, but also in the colder season and in the mountains.
Q: I think we all have great memories of vacations on the beach or in tropical locales (I do for sure, growing up in Florida). Is this part of why you launched MC2 Saint Barth?
A: Yes, the island of San Barth was the place where it all originated. A place that has revealed a real discovery and whose charm I immediately felt. From that moment on, I couldn’t stop going back to see her when I can. I drew my inspiration from this wonderful island: from the colors of its Caribbean Sea, from its landscapes, from nature, from the warm and spectacular sunsets and its atmosphere. The idea of the MC2 Saint Barth style was born from St. Barth.
Q: What is your personal style philosophy? Any principles you live by?
A: Simplicity and irony, keeping your identity.
Q: What do you wear away from the beach and the slopes? What are your favorite everyday brands or designers?
A: Golden Goose and Velasca for footwear, Moncler and Stone Island for clothes.
Q: Are there any emerging brands or designers that you particularly like or plan to watch?
A: Palm Angels, Nike Lab, and AMIRI.
Q: As an insider, what are your favorite spots in Milan to eat, take aperitivo, and shop? Favorite bars? Are there any places you would suggest our readers not miss if they visit?
A: Best pizza: Da Pino. Best delivery: Matcha (Japanese bar). Best lunch: Bowls and More. And the best restaurant and after dinner: La Bullona.
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