Judith Milgrom On Maje
Parisian chic; while many who have ‘got’ it might put it down to a certain je ne sais quoi, Maje Founder and Artistic Director Judith Milgrom manages to translate it into each and every collection – much to the delight of the brand’s scores of devotees. We caught up with the ultimate Parisienne to find out more about the original Maje woman...
You were born in Morocco but moved to Paris in your teens; how do you think that duality has influenced your design aesthetic?
My mother and grandmother always made everything themselves, from bread to curtains and clothes, which inspired my passion for craftsmanship, for everything that is homemade and handmade. I still think about this when I create each collection, especially with the first samples, which are all made in the ateliers here in my office. Some of the Bohemian details of my early collections also come from my Moroccan roots.
“[The Maje woman] is an asserted woman who accepts her femininity and takes pleasure in dressing herself - in other words: a modern woman.”
What is your first fashion memory?
From a very early age I was making dresses for my dolls from my grandmother’s fabric scraps. I also remember stealing my grandfather’s shirt to customise it; that was the first time I ever wore one of my own creations and probably why, to this day, I still love basic white shirts so much.
Maje is very much a family affair; what made you and your siblings create the brand together and how did you come to agree on who the Maje woman would be?
My family has always been my anchor and the most important thing in my life. By the time I finished school my sister had already set up Sandro so I started working with her, always keeping in mind that I wanted to create my own brand. After a couple of years, it felt like the right time to go ahead with my own project so I left Sandro and set up Maje with my brother Alain in 1998. We didn’t really agree on a particular woman; I just created my collections according to my tastes.
How would you describe the Maje woman?
She is an asserted woman who accepts her femininity and takes pleasure in dressing herself - in other words: a modern woman. She is active, glamorous, modern and chic. She knows and loves fashion and therefore always finds the best pieces to suit her style. The Maje woman is free because she creates her own style.
You’ve been praised for your own sense of style; do you design with yourself in mind?
Not necessarily. I design for all types of girls and women who come to Maje because the collections offer a range that goes from basic jeans, trousers and T-shirts to intricate and structured jackets and dresses.
Which are your favourite pieces from the SS16 collection and why?
I love the Gady Trench Coat Cape; there is at least one cape in most of my collections. You can easily twist it according to your look: with a dress in the evening or with jeans in the daytime for a more casual style. And the M bag, to me, is this season’s must-have accessory. My greatest satisfaction would be to see the bag on all kinds of young girls and women this summer.
Parisian style has long been revered, what’s the secret to it?
Parisian chic is discrete and refined by definition. French style is based on non-ostentatious, well-cut basics, highlighted by staple accessories for a sophisticated yet relaxed look. It is concrete and centred around specific fashion codes. I think the secret is not trying to be stylish but knowing what you like and what suits you.
What are your top tips for giving your wardrobe a style reboot?
I would keep my vintage basics and mix them with this season’s designer pieces. For example, I would wear my vintage white shirt and twist it with a super-trendy designer blazer or trousers. I also love wearing my vintage shoes or clutches with the current season staples.
What three pieces would you consider wardrobe essentials?
I have four! A beautiful white cotton shirt, a well-cut pair of trousers or jeans, a cashmere sweater and a fitted blazer.
Shop our edit of Maje must-haves below.
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