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    Fashion meets flavor: Max Mara's bakery collaboration inspired by China's ‘Maillard style’

    Young Chinese consumers' enthusiasm for high-end bakery products is a boon for Max Mara’s brand awareness.
    Max Mara launched a pop-up bakery next to its boutique at Taikoo Hui, Shanghai. Photo: Max Mara
      Published   in Fashion

    Overview:#

    In a fusion of fashion and flavor, Max Mara has partnered with upscale South Korean bakery brand Butterful & Creamorous (known as B&C) in Shanghai to co-create a collection of pastries and drinks. Drawing inspiration from Max Mara’s distinctive Italian style, the products include oversized buttery croissants, caramel lattes, and a quartet of petite cream-filled croissants.

    Launched on September 15, the collaboration goes beyond the victuals – it includes the transformation of B&C's logo. Its "&" symbol, featured on the brand’s green paper bags, was changed to Max Mara's signature camel hue, and stickers and other peripheral products are available, enhancing both the allure of the limited-edition offerings and their visibility.

    The food collaboration features oversized buttery croissants, lattes, and a quartet of petite cream-filled croissants. Photo: Max Mara
    The food collaboration features oversized buttery croissants, lattes, and a quartet of petite cream-filled croissants. Photo: Max Mara

    Netizens’ reaction:#

    Thanks to photo-friendly packaging, the collaboration’s products have sparked online buzz and boosted visitors to the bakery. The campaign hashtag has amassed over 44,000 views on Xiaohongshu, with many users posting selfies holding the bakery’s paper bag. To amplify the reach and impact of this collaboration, the Italian fashion house hosted a pop-up holiday market at Shanghai’s Taikoo Hui from September 15 to 17. Customers were able to make reservations through a dedicated WeChat mini-program.

    Verdict

    Young Chinese consumers' enthusiasm for high-end bakeries is evident from the two-hour queues outside the newly opened bagel store "New York Bagelous Museum" in Shanghai — a white bread loaf resold for 300 RMB (41). B&C, founded in Seoul, has proven popular in China, attracting a large following of social media-savvy consumers. The bakery operates in nine mainland cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, and Wuxi.

    The collab’s visual design draws inspiration from Max Mara’s iconic color palette, which aligns with the Maillard style — a new trend featuring deep-toned earth colors, such as beige, caramel, and brown. The term “Maillard style” has attracted nearly 125 million views on Xiaohongshu.

    Through this F&B collaboration, Max Mara cleverly communicates its timeless aesthetic and stands to benefit from the bakery's youthful customer base, bolstering its brand awareness and engagement with the younger generation.

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