Fashion houses have always had their muses, glamorous spirits who represent the designer’s ideal and who navigate the social arena with such aplomb that they enthrall magazine editors, paparazzi and others as equally celebrated as themselves.
But with muse falling from favor as some prefeminsit throwback, these days the preferred label has become brand ambassador and the title usually falls to a family member, specifically a daughter who can represent the house as both beautiful style icon and highly educated executive. Missoni has the founders’ granddaughter Margherita, Sonia Rykiel has her granddaughter Lola. And Max Mara has Nicola Maramotti, who plunged into Los Angeles this week and, well, made a major splash.
A striking German-born foodie who scores high on every telltale attributes of her ancestry (tall, blonde, bronzed), Nicola serves as brand ambassador for the house her father-in-law, Achille Maramotti, founded in 1951 and which now boasts 35 individual labels and 2,254 stores in 90 countries. His three children, including Nicola’s other half Ignazio, now helm the privately owned company.
But at the over-the-top, hilltop estate of Sam Nazarian, the nightclub-restauranteur-film producer-playboy, it was Nicola effortlessly working the party gathered on the terrace overlooking an endless cityscape. Maria Bello, Phillipe Starck, Mandy Moore, Debra Messing, Diane English, Rosetta Getty and some 45 others came to this Hollywood Hills manse on Nicola’s invitation, and it was worth the trek out on a Monday night to catch the sunset from this perch in the universe.
The party stepped down a creamy stone staircase to the second level, where two long dining tables were set up under a sky brightened by the fullest moon. Thankfully, I was seated with a great bunch: Richard Buckley to my right, Patricia Arquette and Mark and Brigette Romanek across the table. We all admittedly had a blast. Even though this was a double-industry function (Hollywood and fashion) no one left particularly early. And Andy got a kick out of telling chef Antonia Lofaso, who heads the kitchen at Sam’s Foxtail restaurant, that she got robbed when she got booted in one of the last episode’s of this season’s Top Chef. She ate it up.
Although Nicola was directly behind me during dinner, thankfully we had Sunday night to chat. About eight of us, including Andy and stylist Cristina Ehrlich, spent the good part of a cozy supper Sunday night at Mozza talking about the family’s balsamic vinegar production she now oversees, the delicious parmigiano Reggiano cheese that her adopted hometown is famous for (the northern Italian town, Reggio Emilia, where the company is based), and the best knives to use to slice fish (both she and Andy are budding sushi makers.
The point of Nicola’s L.A. trip was last night’s Women in Film Crystal and Lucy Awards, which also drew Debi Mazar, Debra Messing, Maria Bellow, as well as Cameron Diaz, Salma Hayek, Eva Mendes, Annette Benning and 900 other entertainment industry women and the men who support them. Max Mara is a major underwriter of the event and has its own prize to boot, the Max Mara Face of the Future, which this year went to Ginnifer Goodwin (Emily Blunt and Maria Bellow received the years before).
I, however, surrendered my seat earlier in the day. After eight straight nights out feasting and imbibing, this social butterfly needed to rest her wings.
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