You know you’re doing something right when both women in their 20’s and women as old as 90 are shopping in your store. That’s the case with Vancouver’s Max Mara, which has been providing Vancouver women a healthy dose of Max Mara’s now recognizable Italian ready-to-wear style, luxury and craftsmanship for almost 30 years.
The line is known around the world for their hand-made cashmere and angora coats, chic suiting, and form-fitting separates, but has evolved into a brand that includes casual weekend attire, and a full range of shoes and accessories. For us the woman behind it all is Catherine Guadagnuolo, the president and founder of the Vestis Fashion Group, who operates Vancouver’s Max Mara boutiques, the most in any city in North America.
Catherine’s passion for the 63 year-old line (founded in Italy by Achille Maramotti) is apparent, she knows every fabrication, every type of cut, every dress name and fit, and even the names of her most loyal customers, who still request her assistance personally when choosing the perfect Max Mara outfit, assistance that she is happy to provide. No wonder her Max Mara stores sell more than those in New York, and now they have a brand new flagship to add to their success.
Max Mara’s new 3,850 square foot flagship boutique at 3025 Granville Street stands in what was formally the Windsor Gallery. The results of the massive 4 month renovation are impressive, proving that Max Mara’s success in Vancouver is not limited to excellent customer service and beautiful clothes, but also to the experience the store provides to customers when they walk through its doors. The interiors of the new South Granville flagship are sleek and contemporary, with rich woods and elegant lighting placed throughout. While I toured the new store with Catherine, she explained how Duccio Grassi Architects, the Italian firm that designs all of Max Mara’s stores, used recycled wood from an Argentinian stadium built in the 19th century for most of store’s materials. Even if you’re not a fashion-lover like myself, the interior of the store alone is a worth a look.
But perhaps the most exciting aspect of the new Max Mara flagship on South Granville is the introduction of the first ever Max Mara Bridal shop in North America. The chic private bridal boutique at the back of the store offers 16 different styles of gowns, along with bridesmaid and mother-of-bride attire, designed by Giambattista Valli. Max Mara bridal follows a prêt-à-porter concept- dresses do not need to be ordered in advance, they’re ready the same day you try it on, in the size and colour you need.
20-year-olds…90-year-olds…and now brides-to-be can all be taken care of under one roof, just look for the sign that reads Max Mara.
A big thank you to the talented fashion stylist and photographer Viranlly Liemena for the photos.