The gentleman who listens to Papageno. A conversation with Maximilian Mogg

by Sebastiano Bazzichetto

TORONTO – Early spring mornings. Lush lilies on my desk. Sipping at my coffee, dreaming of summer retreats somewhere in the Old World, picturing the most jaunty, refined and yet comfortable attire to travel around Roman ruins, Palladian villas and edenic, patrician gardens.

There is a place where my mind is wandering, a wonderland of taste, a site of wardrobe delights. The guardian of this sophisticated alcove is a gentleman with a foppish, curly tuft and a bewitching gaze.

Maximilian Mogg, a double M that represents an unmistakable embossed emblem. Who chose your name and why?
My first name: I guess it was my mother – as she is originally from Bavaria, Germany. My two brothers also have Bavarian names: Valentin and Leopold. I know very little about the origins of my last name. What I do know, however, is that very few people carry it.

Where are you originally from and where do you currently reside and work?
Originally, I am from Koblenz, a rather small town between Cologne and Frankfurt. I founded my company in Berlin after I had moved there about four years ago.

Can you tell us a little bit more about “the foolish young man?” Why foolish? Will this feature ever change and become something else?
The foolish young man will certainly always remain foolish. He is a dreamer; only seldom in touch with the cold and ominous reality. The prospects of doing business feel restricting to him at times in which the world would actually need more creativity and honesty.

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Photo © Florian Gründig ~ Courtesy of Maximilian Mogg

“He wants to continue making suits and shirts that make the men of the capital shine…”. Why should a man care to shine? What’s for you the value of a well-made suit, or cape or coat?
A man should long for a subtle shine – noticeable only to the few elect whose appeal is of similar subtlety. Why? As a matter of course. Nothing can communicate the magical trinity of manners, aesthetics and practicability like a well-made and perfectly cut suit.

The whimsical and lavish adventures of Mr Lush, one may say. Browsing your website and Instagram account, one thing is pretty apparent: you are a storyteller. Where does the idea of Mr Lush stem from?
The idea for the Mr Lush stories came from a small ocelot in Berlin. He had read my articles on menswear and urged me to step out of my comfort zone by taking up prose. Mr Lush was born after an annoyingly superficial day spent in Mayfair. I observed an elderly man who was visiting his tailor. His face was sad, his Oxfords were old yet perfectly shined, his double breasted pinstripe suit was worn out and he was cracking bad jokes. This figure struck me so much so that I called the ocelot and told him: „I have an idea!“

“With a timeless cut, long-lasting quality, and colours that suit your personal taste…”. How can you combine this with the modern need for economy or not-too-expensive pieces of clothing? In Italy we say the more your spend, the less you are spending, meaning that once you have bought something of good quality that piece remains with you a lifetime and you don’t have to constantly buy new (cheaper) clothes.
Indeed; I would agree since I am not a big fan of simply “giving the people what they want.” At the moment, they seem to be asking for clothing that is cheaply made, delivers a very specific look and is extremely overpriced – a little nod to Alessandro Michele’s Gucci if you can forgive me … although I must admit his looks and mood are fantastic. Nevertheless, I am also not trying to make high-quality clothing that lacks edge, profile and an exciting design. Rather, I would like to put it like this: “I give the people what I want.” That is: high-quality clothing with a clearly defined vision and a thoroughly developed house style.

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Photo © Florian Gründig ~ Courtesy of Maximilian Mogg

Whether we like it or not fashion does exist. What does fashion represent to you? You must have some models (from the past or alive), tailors or fashion designers that you admire, and every style has its time and context, it cannot be timeless, or can it be…?
As modern fashion is very repetitive and only copies the past, it is essential for the young generation to quickly – basically within a few seasons – get an overview over how combinations of colours and proportions work. For some inspiration, I would suggest taking a look at some of my personal favourites: Mr Fred Hughes, Mr Alexis von Rosenberg alias Baron de Redé, the idea of Mr Sebastian Flyte, Mr Ralph Lauren, Mr Tommy Nutter, my grandfather’s cousin, my great grandfather, Mr Hugh Hefner and many of my customers. Design or style cannot aim to be timeless.  Design or style can only aim to be authentic … and only that can be considered timeless.

Your website represents not only a shop window but rather the manifestation of a multifaceted individual: from clothes to music, from inspirational people to your personal story, this website conveys a sense of sophisticated gospel composed by a tastemaker, an ultimate Aesthete…
Thank you! You are the first who was able to put into words what even I could not. I must have been too busy with trying to be authentic.

 

A few fire-rapid questions. Your favourite colour?
Yellow.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Practical. Classic. Mannered.

Italy, England or Germany?
My bedroom in Neukölln, Berlin, Germany.

What’s never missing in your suitcase?
A vintage Gucci purse with two ties – one for the night, one for the day. 

 

Favourite song or aria from the German repertoire?
Papageno’s aria from The Magic Flute.

Shawl collar, peak or notch lapels tuxedo?
DB dinner jacket with peak lapels.

Hosting a dinner party at home or going out to a fancy restaurant?
Home.

Country, region or city for your summer holidays?
I want to spend the upcoming summer holidays at one of the beautiful lakes of Berlin- to be honest, I have never been to any one of them.

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Photo © Florian Gründig ~ Courtesy of Maximilian Mogg

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