small talk // fashion designer max gengos


* my friend * max gengos is a 24 year old fashion designer with a namesake fashion label based in new york city. he is currently showing his second ready-to-wear collection for spring 2015, entitled “arctic spring." gengos began his line with a made-to-measure business, dressing clients for red carpets and premieres, and then quickly expanded to ready-to-wear. committed to the concept of “responsible luxury” max works only with the best and most responsible vendors. the line sources its fabrics from italy, france and the united states, and produces its garments in high-end new york factories. after cutting his teeth as an intern at derek lam, anna sui, and marc jacobs (in high school nonetheless,) the cornell grad worked as a designer at calvin klein, where he quickly learned the ins and outs of the new york fashion industry from one of its biggest players before going out on his own at the end of 2013.


cultureisland: tell us more about "arctic spring."

max gengos: “arctic spring” is the concept from which i designed my line for spring 2015. i found myself really drawn to imagery of glaciers, snow banks, and ice and i fell in love with the colors and forms they created. my spring color palette was built upon deep-sea navy, the bright blues of melting ice, reflective snow whites, and the soft greys of the arctic sky. i built my silhouettes around the soft curves i saw when glaciers meet the ocean, and the clean, sharp, and sleek look of ice. i also love the idea of being inspired by something that is “so not spring.” there is nothing further from spring than permafrost.


cultureisland: what is the aesthetic of the max gengos line?

max gengos: the max gengos aesthetic is sleek and strong, with a touch of futurism and femininity. a signature element of my line is wrapping “incision” style seams that travel around the body, creating form-flattering and sexy silhouettes. i am heavily inspired by the marriage of space and futurism with the golden age of couture, which is echoed in the juxtaposition between clean, futuristic silhouettes with luxe natural materials like silks and wools, or more traditional feminine silhouettes in super sleek fabrics.


cultureisland: what are your favorite pieces from this collection + why?

max gengos: it’s so hard to pick which are my favorite pieces. i will say the atria dress (the white strapless dress with blue side panels) is a really special piece. there is a lot of attention to interior architecture and details in that dress. another piece that i love is my navi crop top. i did this style in two different fabrics, a navy shimmer spring tweed, and an ice blue techno-quilted cotton nylon. the style is less like a top and more like a backward sleeveless jacket—i gave so much attention to the interior linings and facings-it would probably look just as nice if you wore it inside out! 


cultureisland: what inspires you most?

max gengos: i always find myself gravitating toward science and nature. i think that there is such a limitless amount of inspiration from the natural world—from a microscopic scale to satellite images taken from miles away. i love space in particular. all of my pieces are named after stars and constellations.

cultureisland: what are you listening to right now?

max gengos: i’m pretty into banks right now. i think her music is really sexy and soulful, and i love her look. and it’s a bit of a throwback but i’ve also been listening to the killers a lot lately. i love the stories they tell with their music. 

digital collages // cultureisland

rtw + inspiration images from max gengos spring 2015 collection // photographs by christian lipinski // hair + makeup by emily cheng // model alyona shishmareva from q models 

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