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FOURTEEN TOP SLOVAK MODELS TO SHOWCASE ITALIAN STYLE

Bratislava chic

FASHION Week is over in Paris and Milan. And that is good news for Bratislava.
Bratislava businesswoman, Soňa Mellová, is bringing fashion, serious fashion, to town with 14 top Slovak fashion models. These celebrated beauties will show off fashions by Max Mara, one of the largest fashion houses in Italy, to an audience of lucky ticket holders in Tempus Fugit Restaurant December 8.


CLASSIC trends in high quality fabrics rule today's fashion.
photo: Courtesy of Max Mara

FASHION Week is over in Paris and Milan. And that is good news for Bratislava.

Bratislava businesswoman, Soňa Mellová, is bringing fashion, serious fashion, to town with 14 top Slovak fashion models. These celebrated beauties will show off fashions by Max Mara, one of the largest fashion houses in Italy, to an audience of lucky ticket holders in Tempus Fugit Restaurant December 8.

Mellová, who owns the Bratislava franchise of Max Mara, has been organising fashion shows here since she opened for business in 1999. And while her Italian bosses have always given her efforts high marks, this is the first time she has engaged so much local talent. With make-up by Yves Saint Laurent, and assistance from the EXIT modelling agency, Mellová expects to put on quite a show.

Achille Maramotti, an Italian lawyer turned dressmaker, created Max Mara in 1951. Critics consider the line the epitome of Italian fashion. Its good quality and cut, in classic styles, manages to interpret the latest trends in a very wearable way. To shoppers, that means chic clothes that normal women can wear for special occasions, or every day.

Although no single name is particularly associated with the company, well-known designers do create fashions for Max Mara. Jean-Charles de Castelbajac created the Sportsmax line in 1975. Anne-Marie Beretta also designed for Max Mara, mainly creating skiwear and stylishly tailored suits. Karl Lagerfeld and even Dolce and Gabbana, have contributed to the various lines.

Current designers are a closely guarded company secret, although fashion coordinator Laura Lusuardi admits to a fondness for graduates from the British fashion schools.


SMART sweaters for smart women.
photo: Courtesy of Max Mara

Mellová's shop in Bratislava's Old Town is different from the Max Mara shops in other nearby capital cities, such as Vienna and Prague.

"My contract is only for Max Mara's classic collections. This means I sell only the company's most current and cutting-edge styles. In Vienna, for example, there is a multi-franchise shop. They can carry other clothes by other fashion houses, but only last season's designs," she explains. An important distinction for the truly fashion conscious.

Although Mellová's shop may feel exclusive, she insists her sales staff is trained to help and not intimidate. "We can help any woman, whether she is looking for something hot off the catwalk or just an accessory. Believe it or not, our prices really are mid-range." Then she concedes, "There is always sale season."

Mellová has high praise for women in Bratislava. "Compared with other European women, including the Italians, I often find Slovaks have superior taste," she says. "Certainly they are conservative dressers. The legacy of communism is still evident in the desire to blend in, to avoid risks. I see them just learning how to combine things, mixing an elegant top with, say, stylish jeans."

So what will the women of Bratislava see at her show?

"Combinations," Mellová says. "Classic items paired with sporty items. Textured legwear. Short jackets. Black. Shades of whites and off-whites because neutrals and muted colours are coming back. Look for white and off-white blouses in superior fabrics. But reds will be important, too," she continues.

For the evening, new styles will incorporate heavy, textured silks and brocades.

And for the office, women will see smart sweaters in high quality fabrics, like cashmere, replacing jacket-and-skirt suits.

The legendary Coco Chanel once said, "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." And on December 8, fashion will be in Bratislava.

For ticket information, contact Soňa Mellová at Max Mara, Panská 2, 02/5443-5287.

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