Thought the arrival of Parisian macaron boutique Ladurée to Madison Avenue was the best French import of the year? Think again, s'il vous plait. Rue St. Honoré intersects with Prince Street this month with the opening of Parisian label Maje at its third New York location.
Last night Vogue joined Maje Creative Director and designer, Judith Milgrom, and friend of the brand Vanessa Traina, to host a Fall preview for fashion Francophiles at the brand's Bleecker Street location.
Fashion editor and stylist Vanessa Traina designed a capsule collection for the Maje last Fall and continues to consult for the brand. "People aspire to Parisian style—the effortlessness, the quality," she said of the expansion to North America. "New York is the critical launching point for Maje because trends start here. If girls here like it, it will probably be received well elsewhere."
"We didn't necessarily see a void that needed to be filled, but potential we thought we could access," said Maje CEO Frederic Biousse with regard to exporting the brand. The rapid development of mass market, "affordable luxury" brands and New York City's particular amenability to European fashion also stimulated Maje's North American expansion. "Beyond being a trend setting market, New York is the most European city in the United States. Actually, I don't think New York really is the United States," he joked.
Designer Judith Milgrom doesn't necessarily believe in a specific "muse" for the brand. "I don't design clothes with one particular type of girl in mind," she said. "I design for an active women, who can translate the designs in her own way." Despite Maje's distinctly French ethos, clothes are created for the woman, not the citizen. Jackets in lush textures with leather accents and silk chiffon blouses have a structured looseness that feels familiar, with just a tad of fashion wanderlust. - Amanda Duberman