Thanks to global warming, the down jacket has never been more relevant for those traveling to colder climes this time of the year. Another brand shining the spotlight on this winter staple is Max Mara, whose quilted Cube pieces have earned cult fashion status ever since they were launched in 2008, thanks to the fact that they can be folded into cubed carry-cases and big on practicality. They’re reversible, breathable, water-repellent, light and adaptable.
To mark The Cube’s 10th anniversary, the Italian label has gotten several artists to interpret and get inspired by the aesthetic and philosophy of these jackets — which have incidentally earned spots in galleries like the Staatliche Museum in Berlin, and New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology for the modern design.
It kicked off the project with three photographers recently: Dutchwoman Hellen Van Meene, New Yorker Max Farago and Japan’s Rinko Kawauchi. To follow up on this artistic outing, the brand has just released the images from its latest batch of collaborators, photographers Erik Madigan Heck and Koto Bolofo.
The American Heck, 35, turned to his trademark of saturated and intense colours for his interpretation. His ethereal style and strong knowledge of colour theory are influenced by his mother, a painter who gave him his watershed moment with photography at the age of 14 when she gifted her son a camera.
The theme of family continues in his work for Max Mara. His wife, who is also a model, donned the jackets in the series of arresting photos that he lensed. “It feels really incredible to be able to make work with your kids running around in your backyard, instead of in a studio in New York. I think you can feel the love in the work more,” he said.
Meanwhile, South African-born and UK-based photographer Koto Bolofo took a more lyrical turn for his interpretation of The Cube. Bolofo, 59, left his hometown as a political refugee and went on to study art in London and established a career for his energetic black and white pictures and darkroom techniques.
Like Heck, there is a personal story to the images he created for Max Mara. Koto harked back to a nostalgic moment as a child when his mother would wrap him up in coats to shield him from the cold. He referred to them as “protection of your inner soul — it protects, guards, it gives you warmth, and also conjures memories”.
He continued: “A coat makes me think of my Mother, wrapping me up. That is why I love these down coats – because they conjure your childhood memories.” The result is a series of dance-like images that show his inclination for something more lyrical and dominated by movement.