Towards the end of the 1960s, fashion was freshly enlivened by the global youthquake and all over Europe trend cycles were beginning to speed up. Achille Maramotti, founder of the heritage Italian fashion brand Max Mara, was inspired and developed several 'POP' capsule collections as an offshoot of his mainline work. For the spring 1970 season, he established Sportmax as a brand in its own right as a younger, more trend-led alternative to the classic elegance of Max Mara, helping to build what is now a £1.4 billion Max Mara group fashion empire.
Sportmax celebrates its 50th anniversary this season, with a capsule collection that references its archive while pushing to the future. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Sportmax became a byword for young luxury, and for innovation in outerwear; experimenting with silhouette, technique, colour and materials, it worked with creative collaborators such as primary-colour-obsessive designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and minimalist French interiors designer Guy Paulin to bring energy to the world of outerwear.
Grazia Malagoli, AGE TK, who grew up in the Reggio Emilia region, near to where the Max Mara group was founded, has been the fashion director of the label since 1982, developing the brand's identity along the way. Here she, along with Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti, 35, the granddaughter of Achille Maramotti and retail director at the Max Mara Fashion Group, charts the label's highlights...
1976: The catwalk debut
"Even the invitation to the first Sportmax fashion show, for a/w '76, was avant garde [it featured a photograph of a claimed UFO sighting] it was the first fashion show Max Mara ever staged and happened at the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan and the overall aesthetic shows clearly how it had set out to be a dynamic fashion brand. The styling was exciting; it was about the knitted headpieces teamed with outerwear."- Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti
1983: Innovative techniques
"Guy Paulin collaborated with Sportmax in the 1980s. This coat was very impactful; it was the first raw-cut coat and raw-cutting leaving raw edges rather than finishing the a coat neatly was an extremely innovative technique for that time. There was also no lining, and it had geometric sleeves. I had the chance to work with Guy when I was very young. The way he used to sketch was always in one go, and impressively clear and complete." - Grazia Malagoli
1985: The new supermodels
三级成人视频"Yasmin Le Bon basically became one of the first international supermodels right after this campaign. Together with Peter Lindbergh, whose career as a photographer was being launched, it all came together." - Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti.
1991: Colourful coats
"Bright colours and graphic shapes played an important role among our collections. The 1990s were full of minimalism but at the same time we expressed femininity within our collections." - Grazia Malagoli.
1999: The first Sportmax store
"We partnered with [famous minimalist Belgian architect] Vincent Van Duysen to create a space in Milan where the garments were the focal point. The idea was to contrast the neutrality of the place and the primary colours of the clothes." - Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti.
2009: The new take on femininity
"By the end of the 1990s we needed a change. This campaign represents the first time we worked with British fashion photographer David Sims; I like the way he presented Karlie Kloss's character and attitude." - Grazia Malagoli.
2015: A royal patron
"Seeing the Duchess of Cambridge wear Sportmax, it doesn't really get any better than that. Every time she wears something from our collections we see an incredible reaction from clients. The beauty with someone like her wearing something is that it's entirely her own choice. There is no push from the brand."- Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti.
2020: The anniversary collection
"We researched through our archives for this collection, from the graphic cuts, to the unusual combination of fabrics to the vibrant colours, which reflect the spirit of the 1970s." - Grazia Malagoli
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