MILAN — Max Mara’s creative director Ian Griffiths still marvels at the success of the Teddy Coat, which this year is marking its 10th anniversary. “Who would have guessed that the old coat I found by chance in a cabinet would have turned out to be such a hit around the world?” wondered Griffiths, speaking at the Portrait Hotel here.
Below in the hotel’s courtyard, Max Mara installed the latest Fluffy Residence, a space reimagined as a home where everything is wrapped in the coat’s signature fluffy beige fabric, from the kitchen countertop, bookshelves and flowers to tableware, the bed with a giant teddy bear figure sitting on it, and even the bathroom.
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The initiative, most recently seen in Chengdu, China, has sparked endless posts, as visitors pose for selfies in their favorite rooms. Griffiths is keenly aware of the power of social media and word of mouth. He recalled that the first person to publicly wear the Teddy Coat was stylist and fashion entrepreneur Carine Roitfeld 10 years ago, and she helped draw the attention on the style with that “viral image,” he said.
“It’s a scary world, and this coat helps protect and cuddle, it’s cocooning, but it is also eye-catching. It’s a look-at-me item in the spirit of our times,” the designer said. “And it’s soft to touch but also rich, yet one of the secrets of the coat is that it is light.” The coat has sparked numerous imitations, but Griffiths believes that the fit gives the copies away.
Max Mara has sold 90,000 pieces of the coat, which is available in 30 different colors and made with natural fibers. Griffiths said this is “not a seasonal product and is transversal across generations.” The coat has helped attracted a younger clientele without turning away the existing Max Mara customer, he added.
Retailing at between 1,200 and 2,300 euros, it is in line with Max Mara’s founder Achille Maramotti’s belief that the brand should be accessible for the working woman. “The demand has been overwhelming,” Griffiths said. “We are not the ones to choose what represents us but apparently the Teddy touched a nerve,” he noted simply, “and it also has an element of irony, tongue-in-cheek fun.”
Marking the anniversary, the Teddy Ten project includes special editions of the style, such as the new Sparkling version with sequins, or the Mini Teddy Coat for girls ages five to 12 with accessories such as gloves or soft hats.
Last month, the company feted the 10th anniversary of the Teddy Bear coat with The Fluffy Residence at the luxury mall IFS Chengdu.
Other activations and installations were staged globally, starting from New York, where in September Max Mara opened its first pop-up in SoHo in a space entirely covered in Teddy fabric, passing through London at Harrods, and subsequently Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo and now Milan.
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