I challenge you to find someone who is more enthusiastic about tufts wool “tops” (the stuff that a sheep’s fleece is processed into before it gets spun into yarn) than Laura Lusuardi, the longtime global fashion director of Max Mara. At the launch of Max Mara’s Woolmark collection at their Old Bond Street store a fortnight ago, Lusuardi thrusted a wad of super soft tops in my hands, urging me to feel it. “There are 71 million sheep versus 21 million people!” she exclaimed. “The ingredients of the wool is the lovely grass and the Australian sun – the sheep run free and it makes the wool super soft.” Lusuardi of course knows a thing or two about a flock of sheep. Max Mara is of course famed for their iconic camel coat but whether it’s camel, cashmere or Merino wool, Lusuardi’s wealth of knowledge of the various fibres, yarn weights and fabrication possibilities is vast. And with that expertise, Max Mara have come up with a way of replicating the look of denim with its traditional 3/1 weave, but instead of cotton, they have used 100% Merino wool to showcase the lighter side to this natural fibre.
“Wool is a fibre that is most versatile,” said Lusuardi. “You can have it light, medium and very heavy. Wool is very easy to shape. This wool-denim is new because it’s so fluid.” Indeed, scrunch the fabric in your hands and it is far more malleable than traditional cotton denim and once released, it instantly returns to an unwrinkled state. Lusuardi also pointed out the various examples of Max Mara that utilise wool – mixed with lycra or silk for instance – to create fabrics that feel like anything but wool, and are also suitable for the summer season with its breathable qualities.
On one of the hottest day of the year in London, I donned the double breasted jacket and matching trousers from the wool denim collection, into town (on the tube) and emerged remarkably perspiration-free. And comfort aside, this also happens to be the first trouser suit in my wardrobe (yes, I triple checked just to be sure). Max Mara’s ability to master wardrobe cornerstones makes the ensemble an easy one to wear and to mix in with some of my more adventurous pieces. Lusuardi often photographs women wearing Max Mara on the street with her phone. How does she envisage this collection being worn? “With personality! It’s exactly what I believe in it. You can customise it as you wish. Max Mara clothes aren’t overpowering and so you can wear it as you want.” Don’t mind if I do…
Max Mara x Woolmark wool-denim dress worn with Marques Almeida jeans, Coach shoes and Delada shirt
This post is sponsored by Max Mara