Inside the gallery-like home of Max Mara’s Maria Giulia Maramotti. By ELIO IANNACCI
AS SOON AS YOU WALK INTO MARIA GIULIA
Maramotti’s dining room, you see it. Pulling focus from her grandiose view of Chelsea’s bustling West 18th Street is a black and white artwork depicting a headless semi-dressed woman conjured by artist Natasha Law (left). It could be mistaken for a blown-up sketch taken from Maria Giulia’s family business, clothing label Max Mara, or something you’d see hung at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art (a place the Maramottis have invested in). “Art is in my blood,” says Maria Giulia, U.S. director of retail and global brand ambassador at Max Mara. “It’s what we talked about at the dinner table when I grew up and is what keeps me so openminded.” One Google search of her family’s name will confirm her passion. Maria Giulia’s grandfather, Achille Maramotti, the founder of Max Mara, famously left his clan such a legendary collection they had to open a museum at the label’s original headquarters in Italy’s Reggio Emilia. The brand has also partnered with key art spaces around the world: It recently launched a handbag alongside the unveiling of the new Whitney, sponsored Toronto’s coolest art event of this year (Power Ball, in conjunction with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery) and regularly launches its own display projects (one of the best being Max Mara’s Heritage Project, an exhibit of archival coats set up in Miami’s Design District).
Maria Giulia can be named as one of the main instigators of these stylish associations. She spends much of her free time in galleries and likes to personally visit artist studios (the latest and greatest trips have been to the studios of Adam Helms and Andy Cross). “You see their thought process in another way,” she says of her visits. “They are really explaining how they got to that end result and you learn to appreciate the exchange of creativity that lies behind their lives.”
As she passes by her own condo walls, which are plastered with art and pictures of her family— including her darling nieces and nephews—she talks about her tattoos (a mix of inked-on lyrics from The Rolling Stones’s “Gimme Shelter” and various romantic phrases) and gushes over new inspirations. One of them is artist Ellen Gallagher, whose work deals with gender and race, and the other is Corin Sworn, the winner of Max Mara’s Art Prize for Women (a biannual award that celebrates emerging females in the field). Sworn, who studied in Vancouver, recently created a performance piece that Maria Giulia is still swooning over: a thoroughly modern take on Italy’s renowned Commedia dell’arte theatre. And while she collects art from all genders, Maria Giulia is deeply invested in supporting women.
“Historically, in art, female artists have not really been present,” she says. “The artist figure has always been associated with males, especially in the past 70 or more years. As a brand that is cherishing and dedicated to women, we have a duty to sponsor them.”
MARIA GIULIA MARAMOTTI IN HER ART-FILLED CHELSEA DIGS