Weekend Max Mara has teamed up with American artist Richard Saja for their latest Signature Collection, a project inspired by the legendary Royal Ascot races, offering a collection of embroidered pieces entitled Trophy Day. Both a much anticipated equestrian sporting event and a yearly parade of the best and brightest in formal daywear, Royal Ascot is an exemplary occasion for Weekend Max Mara and Saja’s collaboration.
Get to know more about the artist through the interview by Max Mara:
1. How did you come to love embroidery and why did you choose Toiles De Jouy for creating your artworks?
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..
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. How did this collaboration with Weekend Max Mara start?
I wonder that myself! I believe the creative team of Weekend Max Mara saw my work and felt it was a great fit for a collaboration. It definitely was!
5. 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.
6. 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. WMM allowed me to do what I do best: slightly off-kilter and mischievous stitching over a much-loved and venerated textile print.
7. What does Royal Ascot mean to you? And how did you translate the main values of this unique event into the Weekend Max Mara “Trophy Day” Signature Collection?
Thanks to a dear friend, each year I attend the Kentucky Derby in Louisville so I’m no stranger to an annual premier horse race where people attend dressed to the nines in their colourful best. I channeled some of those memories into the embroidery, adorning the figures in bright and festive party attire.
8. What kind of woman do you see wearing the Weekend Max Mara “Trophy Day” Signature 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 colour pattern and texture and pulls it off effortlessly.
WHAT TO LOOK FROM THE SIGNATURE COLLECTION?
What makes the Royal Ascot become the theme for this year’s Weekend Max Mara capsule collection? “Royal Ascot’s dress code is extremely rigorous: just to mention a few examples, only dresses that are long up to the knees are accepted, the shoulders have to be covered and it is mandatory to wear a hat. All the pieces of this capsule have been produced precisely with these rules in mind,” says the Max Mara team. Have you had any moments where you can’t figure out what to wear for such occasion? The capsule collection freeing you from any worries! You can still look proper yet also up-to-date by mixing and matching the pieces from the collection. Here are more reasons for you to look right for any formal occasion!
Art in the ready-to-wear collection
Richard Saja is known for his meticulous embroideries of historical textiles. Having exhibited internationally with expositions in New York, Paris, London, Berlin and the National Museum of Embroidery in South Korea, Saja artfully transforms classic toile de jouy textiles — fabric printed with typically domestic tableaus, hailing from 17th century France — into irreverent and bizarre scenes, which he describes as “interferences”.
A royal history and one-of-a-kind pieces
For this Signature Collection, Saja has utilized his masterful embroidery techniques to embellish and elevate silk and cotton toile de jouy textiles for Weekend Max Mara. Rigorously adhering to Royal Ascot’s dress code, the collection features a number of pieces designed to be worn on the day. Each piece will be rendered in a unique colourway where embroideries are positioned differently on each piece. His irreverent takes on the classic textile focus on colourful embellishments of 17th century-style horses and riders.
Matching slippers and bags for a total look
The collection features ten pieces with a colour palette that includes hues of dark to light blue, ivory to white, and orange: a thigh-length overcoat of silk organdy; a cotton piquet blouse with voluminous sleeve detailing; cropped cotton trousers with a slight kick-flare; a cotton poplin shirt. Two sleeveless, knee-length dresses: one, made in cotton faille with a fifties silhouette; the other, a low back A-line shape made from cotton satin. Also featured is a clean-lined cropped silk organdy bolero without added embroidery. Weekend Max Mara’s iconic Pasticcino bag and a pair of slippers also enriched by colourful embroideries complete the offer.
More about Weekend Max Mara…
Weekend Max Mara represents Max Mara Group’s lifestyle line. Launched first as a casual outdoors weekend collection in 1984, it is now its own specific brand. Rich and sophisticated, the line covers all categories of garments and accessories with an all-inclusive selection of formal- informality, or “utility de luxe”, a constant trend of the runway shows.
The line is still influenced by its original sportswear DNA featuring linens and cottons, yarn-dyed fabrics, patterns and prints, specific details such as drawstrings while fits are constantly updated. The signature detail that sets the line apart and symbolizes the idea of lightness and freedom, is a small butterfly embroidered on various pieces. Distributed at over 200 mono-brand stores and leading department stores across the world, Weekend Max Mara is also known for its many special projects focusing on a specific class of product, creating a true collection within a collection.
This collection is available in all Weekend Max Mara stores and on weekendmaxmara.com.