Sportmax is a part of the House of Max Mara, which was established in 1951 in Reggio Emilia, Italy, by the entrepreneur Achille Maramotti. Maramotti has a degree in law, but after graduating he devoted his time to dressmaking, as had many of his family members. His great-grandmother Marina Rinaldi owned a dressmaking atelier in the seventeenth century and his mother Giulia Fontanesi Maramotti founded a dressmaking school. Achille Maramotti specialized in high-end outerwear, which quickly became a success and led to various line extensions. The first was Max Mara Pop, which was launched in 1965, followed by Sportmax in 1969.
Sportmax was first shown on the catwalk on 18 March 1976 at Hotel Principe di Savoia during Milan Fashion Week. In the first Sportmax press release, the style is described as “suitable for all occasions. A coordinated wardrobe, in which all garments can be combined with each other. A new way of dressing which will fill you with enthusiasm, too.” The design team at Sportmax addresses the younger woman who values fashion, wearability, and a fit inspired by sportswear. The foundation of every collection is dresses, but the range also includes coats, jackets, trousers, and knitwear. Each Sportmax garment has a tiny Swarovski crystal hand-sewn on it, always in a different place.
Once a year, Sportmax does a project called “Carte Blanche,” a small capsule collection in collaboration with a young star—for example the art director Christophe Brunnquell, the musician Kim Gordon, the creative Ambra Medda, the artist Lola Montes Schnabel, and the filmmaker Chira Clemente. To fulfill a demand for more informal contemporary wear, Sportmax has developed the line Sportmax Code, which includes denim, swimwear, accessories, and beachwear.
Sportmax designs are created by a team of young designers. Because of the collaborative nature of the design process it is never expressed directly who they are, but among the well-known designers who have been at Sportmax are Odile Lançon, Guy Paulin, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. The campaigns have been shot by some of the most famous fashion photographers in the world, including Sarah Moon, Hans Feurer, Albert Watson, Peter Lindbergh, Marc Hom, Dusan Relijin, Inez van Lamsweerde, Vinoodh Matadin, David Sims, and Mert & Marcus.
“Carte Blanche.” Sportmax, n.d. http://www.sportmax.com/carte-blanche/index.html (accessed March 2014).
“Philosophy.” Sportmax, n.d. http://www.sportmax.com/en/sportmax-philosophy (accessed March 2014).
“Sportmax Code.” Sportmax, n.d. http://www.sportmax.com/en/sportmaxcode-home-page (accessed March 2014).