WEEKEND MAX MARA AND ARTIST RICHARD SAJA COLLABORATE ON A ROYAL ASCOT-INSPIRED COLLECTION
by MILENA DEDOVIC
COURTESY of MAX MARA
Luxury brand Max Mara and artist Richard Saja have collaborated on a new spring collection, titled the Trophy Day collection. The partnership originates from Max Mara’s and Saja’s mutual inspiration—the Royal Ascot races, an equestrian sporting event.
The Trophy Day formal daywear collection strictly follows Royal Ascot’s dress code. Here, Saja, famous for his perfectionist and detailed embroideries of historical textiles, referenced classic textiles with colorful embellishments of 17th century-style horse riders. (Embroideries are positioned differently on each piece, and rendered in unique colorways.) It was a perfect match collaborating with Weekend Max Mara, the label's sophisticated lifestyle line that features an all-inclusive selection of formal wear.
The collection features pieces such as overcoats, blouses, trousers, shirts, dresses and boleros, all enriched by colorful embroideries. The color palette goes from hues of dark to light blue, ivory to white, and orange.
The collection launched in May in the U.K., and is available in all Weekend Max Mara stores, and on weekendmaxmara.com.
Richard Saja for
Weekend Max Mara
American artist Richard Saja is a textile designer and embroidery artist based in New York City. He particularly enjoys subverting 17th and 18th century-style patterns, where he is known to add whimsical elements like wings on monkeys, or animal heads onto human bodies. (Call them historically inaccurate.) He began exercising his creativity in the late 1990s, and soon afterwards, has gone on to collaborate with brands such as Christian Lacroix and Opening Ceremony. He works mostly with classic silks and cotton toile de jouy, though no material is off limits.
How did you come to love embroidery and why did you choose Toiles De Jouy for creating your artworks?
Richard Saja: The idea came to me while I was waking from my sleep. The original concept was to embroider Maori face tattoos onto 18th century figures, but I soon found that there are very few toile prints out there large enough to accomplish this effectively. I adjusted the concept slightly to include any embroidered modification to the original pattern and suddenly everything fell into place.
How do you choose the thread colour for embroidering the figures printed on the fabric?
I always choose my colours based on the harmony created among them joined with the colours of the toile print. This combination should sing harmoniously.
When you start embroidering on the printed figures of Toiles De Jouy, do you have already a project in your mind, or are you just driven by the inspiration while working?
I never sit down with a clear goal in mind. At best, I'll be working thematically, but I prefer the spontaneity of the process rather than figuring out my imagery beforehand.
Where did your inspiration for this Signature Collection come from?
I tried to capture the essence of a holiday everyday: fun and frivolity rippling through the prints through the colour and texture in the embroidery.
What was it like collaborating with the Weekend Max Mara fashion team for this project?
The collaboration was such a natural fit and a delight. They have allowed me to do what I do best: slightly off kilter and mischievous stitching over a much-loved and venerated textile print.
What kind of woman do you see wearing the Weekend Max Mara Collection?
An evolved and intelligent woman who has an incredible sense of both style and humor—a casual iconoclast who embraces the holy trinity of color pattern and texture and pulls it off effortlessly.
“I tried to capture the essence of a holiday everyday: fun and frivolity rippling through the prints through the colour and texture in the embroidery.”
SHOP THE TROPHY DAY COLLECTION
Trophy Day - Cotton satin dress
Long sleeveless dress in printed pure cotton satin with shallow V neck on front and deep neckline on the back.