No one knows the rules of chic as well as Milan’s supreme matriarchs, the sciure, the elite women who keep their house, their wardrobe, and their entire life in immaculate, high-style order. We interviewed the city’s coolest sciure for their rules on high heels in the mountains, Prada presents, and the importance of the panettone.


Fashion Director and the fashion force behind Max Mara since 1964, Lusuardi is a woman who rolls classic and contemporary into one well-styled machine. Her inspired taste pulls together exotic travel treasures with timeless classics. Here, she shows us how to do the holidays in full color, from bright Chinese pajamas to fabric-wrapping gifts.


Real trees only: hung with the super colorful collection of decorations I’ve been working on for 30 years– tiny statues, little Santa Clauses, and my souvenirs from traveling abroad. For the house– red flowers, pinecones, and berries.

Make the table traditional, only at Christmastime– the rest of the year, go modern. Traditional for me means a red linen tablecloth, Baccarat crystal, our original Richard Ginori plates, silver plates for underneath, and a centerpiece of pine branches and red berries.

I always wear Chinese pajamas, or if I’m somewhere warm, I put on men’s Indian caftans in loads of beautiful colors.


I don’t use wrapping paper; I’m a fabric woman. It’s more personal to wrap gifts in different pieces of fabric.

I don’t send cards– I deliver my holiday wishes over the phone and call everyone.

Give things people can wear all the time: I like to give Max Mara bags or jewelry from Parma-based jeweler Laura Nocco­.


Stock the fridge with great ingredients: everyone can stop by anytime since I’m always ready to improvise a meal. I always have plenty of ham, salami, and since I’m from Reggio Emilia, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and good Lambrusco wine.

Christmas like Mom’s: I love making the traditional recipes she taught me for our big sit-down dinner of twelve people.

Panettone from pals: mine always comes from a dear friend who brings it from the Antoniazzi bakery in Mantua.

In my house, panettone is always served as dessert, not for breakfast!, with mascarpone or warm zabaglione (custard).


To be served as a side with meat dishes

  1. Slice the fennel in very thin half moons.
  2. Hard-boil the eggs.
  3. Pull out the yolks and mix them with oil and salt.
  4. Chop the egg whites into very thin slices and mix with olive oil.
  5. Combine everything in a bowl and voilà!

-Laura Rysman