We love a fashion evergreen Chez LaDoubleJ. Why even bother with clothes you’re going to throw out in two years time? No other piece will evoke such consistent, long-term admiration in your wardrobe than the classic camel coat. Max Mara has designed 100s of them over the years, but the most beloved is the No. 101801, first created in 1981 and still in production today. With its oversized shape, roomy feel and round, sloping shoulders, the coat could not be more of-the-moment. An added perk? It feels like a giant sleeping electric blanket wrapped around whatever kind of ornament you may (or may not) have on underneath. That’s actually the brilliance of this piece: it dresses up a tragic pair of yoga pants, it tames the razzle-dazzle on your evening dress. It looks just as appropriate with weekend Stan-Smiths as it does foxy Gianvito Rossi stiletto heels.
Here to show us just how multi-tasking this piece can be are some of our favorite Milanese mothers and daughters. All of these girls are creative women we admire- artists, fashion designers, jewelry designers and stylists-and we love their elegant mothers even more. Each woman came to the shoot and played with us all afternoon, bringing their dogs, their jewels and clothes from their own wardrobe to show how to style and wear this effortless piece of clothing. The coolest part was hearing all the memories of Max Mara and how they plan to wear it now.
Virgina Galateri and Evelina Christillin
Evelina Christillin is the quintessential chic Italian working woman. She’s run FIAT’s press office in Turin, taught the History of Sports at the University of Turin and was President of Turin’s Winter Olympic bid and eventual win. She is attracted to no-nonsense clothes that get her through her busy day with practical elegance. “This coat is perfect because it doesn’t shrink or squeeze you,” she says of Max Mara’s iconic 101801, “and it’s always in great shape even after 14 hours of work.” Her daughter Virginia, a contributor to Vogue.it, grew up wearing classic camel coats too, but has only just recently rediscovered the allure of this model. “It used to be mandatory but now I want to wear it,” she exclaims, “I love it!” More fashion obsessed than her mother, Virginia tends to mix the coat with recent runway treasures or cool scoops off the street. “I like that it’s classy and traditional but it can be rocked at the same time with distressed jeans and boots,” she says. “You can mix it with anything—even a long skirt or dress. This is a perfect item—a must-have for me.”
Maria Cristina Buccellati and Carlotta Catelli
As scion to the Buccellati jewelry empire, Maria Cristina Buccellati and her daughter Carlotta Catelli were bred with impeccable taste. Surrounded by the beauty of Italian fine jewelry handcraft honed over the last five centuries, refined elegance and a sense of tradition comes naturally to these women. Maria Cristina, who is Worldwide Communications Director for Buccellati, lives in Milan but is frequently jetting off around the globe. She does it while wearing a wardrobe of nearly-exclusive neutral shades of black, cream, navy and beige, never touching prints and rarely wearing color unless it’s during the summer months. “It’s easier to get dressed this way,” she admits of her condensed wardrobe choices. “You can really wear it with anything,” she says, patting the coat’s glossy, perfect finish. Buccellati bought her first Max Mara camel coat at age 21. “I still have it and wear it today.” Meanwhile, daughter Carlotta, a photographer based in Spain, wears the camel coat either more casually: with dark blue jeans and Converse all-stars, or with a flirty cocktail dress and high heels. “I never wear anything skin-tight. I like flowy and casual clothes, that’s why I love this camel coat!”
Cecilia Bringheli and Chantal Gugenheim
It’s hard to say who’s chicer: classically-turned-out CB Italy footwear designer Cecilia Bringheli or her stylish, globe-trotting mother Chantal Gugenheim who is printed in unexpected tattoos and comes jingling with fabulous ethnic jewelry. Either way, both Italian born women love a camel coat. “I adore Max Mara,” enthuses Chantal, “when I was 21 years old, I bought 3 Max Mara coats in one day; one black, one camel and one reversible black and camel!” Today, the camel coat remains a timeless go-to-piece in both women’s wardrobe. Whether they are running around Milan’s slick cobblestone streets or hopping on rocks at their holiday home in Positano, both women appreciate a practical staple that can be lived in. “You can wear this coat with everything,” says Cecilia. “And I really like the way you can belt it to see the line of the body or keep it open and wear it larger.” Both women favor a pared-down elegance, punched only with an occasional, statement-making piece. Cecilia prefers mannish, tailored separate pieces for her daily wardrobe. They key is “simple elegance without showing off,” she says. “Also, sometimes elegance is the way you are with people, not just the way you dress. My mom taught me that.”
Stefania and Micol Sabbadini
One of Milan’s top fine jewelers, tucked inside a tiny green-velvet-lined space in Via Montenapoleone, is run by the Sabbadini family. Stefania, the great matriarch, has overseen the company’s expansion while still demonstrating a flair for artfully composed dinner parties, impeccable manners, and even better hair. Her love of fashion has been a life-long pursuit from which her daughter Micol now benefits. “My mother’s closet is my favorite shopping center,” Micol laughs. “I steal everything- insane vintage YSL, Chanel, bags and fur coats.” Another item she’ll soon be stealing is Max Mara’s famous camel coat—a key piece that Stefania first discovered decades ago. “A camel coat can be worn everywhere and you will always be chic,” she says. Stefania embellished her camel coat with a swarm of Sabbadini’s signature jeweled bee pins, and added a pair of suede pants and high heels. Micol, an art and fashion photographer based between Milan and New York, has a bolder look, choosing to show off her endless legs in a micro mini skirt and a set of platform sandals. “I’d also wear it with leggings or something fitted because the shape is oversized,” she says. “And this piece is amazing for travelling – it’ll match everything you brought in your suitcase.”
Carlotta Oddi and Marilena Oddi
Carlotta Oddi is one of Milan’s most stylish girls; a sophisticated ragazza who somehow manages to skip about town looking both as relaxed as a hippie and as cool as a romantic goth, while maintaining an impossibly fresh face. As fashion assistant to Vogue Japan’s Anna dello Russo, she’s accustomed to being surrounded by the very best of fashion’s newest, latest and hottest. Still, sometimes, the quiet easy glamour of a classic camel coat hits just the right note with her fresh off the runway clothes, like Gucci’s mules, Dsquared2 cropped pants and a mannish Valentino blue shirt. “It’s a key piece, something you really need in your closet,” she says. “I really like the oversized style because I love layering,” she observes. “You can wear two sweaters or even a jacket under it.” Carlotta’s mother Marilena, who still lives in Monza were Carlotta was raised, provided an early stimulant for her love of fashion. Marilena frequently brought her daughter on shopping excursions to Milan where she continues today to be a client of Dior, Chanel and, of course, Max Mara. “The first coat I ever bought was from Max Mara”, Marilena recalls with a smile.
Sveva Camurati and Maria Luisa Capitanio
Fashion flows through the Milanese thoroughbred blood of Sveva Camurati and her mother Maria Luisa Capitanio. Camurati’s grandmother was a famed dressmaker who made exquisite confections for the city’s well-heeled elite in her haute couture atelier after World War II. The fashion bug was passed on to Camurati who now runs her own jewelry label called Sveva in the city center. Sveva’s jewels – much like the designer’s own preference for colorful, print-happy clothes- are maximal, artful creations that make a major statement. “Which is why I love the camel coat,” Sveva explains. “When you’re dressed as crazy as I am usually, you can’t wear a busy coat. You really need something minimal and cool. The camel coat is the perfect quiet piece to wear over a lot of loud pattern and print.” Sveva’s mother, a long-time psychologist based in Milan, used to wear a lot of Yves Saint Laurent in the 70s and 80s, but today she tends to wear more minimal pieces – black and beige—a clean day to night canvas for this coat’s simple lines. An impactful, feather and crystal-embroidered necklace from her daughter’s label adds a touch of whimsy to her elegant look.
– J.J. Martin