Italy is home to the world's most famous fashion designers and labels. From Gucci and Diesel to Fendi, and Dolce & Gabbana, the country turns out top quality talent and designs which have a worldwide appeal. Italian style is rightly celebrated as being unique among competitors with its unmistakable elegance, excellent tailoring, exquisite fabrics, and unmatched creativity and innovation.
© Paolo Lanzi, http://www.paololanzi.com
The first Italian fashion show was held in the 1950's in Florence and organized by Count Giovanni Battista Giorgini. This began a popular new trend and soon fashion shows were being produced throughout the country. Gradually the emphasis shifted from Florence to Rome and Milan; these eventually became two of the top five fashion capitals in the world.
The success of the shows meant Italian fashion labels like Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, Versace, Gucci, Emilio Pucci, Laura Biagiotti, Roberto Cavalli, Brioni and Bottega Veneta began competing with established French haute couture from famous fashion houses like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Lanvin.
Italian designers and fashion houses of the 1950s brought a breath of fresh air to haute couture with revolutionary, innovative creations. Italy has always excelled at innovative use of fabrics, creating simple shapes and superior hand finishing, all ensuring that Italian design is of utmost quality and wearability.
Of course Italian designers have always been popular with celebrities and royalty. From the Valentino dress that Jacqueline Kennedy wore at her wedding to Onassis, and the famous Salvatore Ferragamo red shoes worn by Marylin Monroe, to the Borsalino hat worn by Michael Jackson, Italian fashion houses have never hidden from the world stage. Emilio Pucci was one of the first stylists to bring Italian fashion to the skies with its chic uniforms for hostesses and crew.
As part of couture and prêt-a-porter collections, Italian brands offer a plethora of choice in accessories, leading to even more global fame and success. Gucci is known for its bags and Ferragamo for its shoes while the unmistakable style of Bottega Veneta characterizes many different types of leather goods. Then there are perfumes and fragrances like Roma by Laura Biagiotti and the Mediterranean fragrances of Dolce&Gabbana as well as the uniquely shaped Moschino perfume-bottles; they all hold a special place in the perfume hall of fame. Sunglasses and eyewear, with Italian lables like Miu Miu, Roberto Cavalli, Gucci and Dolce&Gabbana setting the trends, have helped expand Italian market share and success.
Whether it's haute couture or pret-a-porter, sportswear or accessories, Italian fashion houses are undoubtedly the shining stars of the international fashion scene. Italy is the place where fashion trends are started, innovations encouraged and names made. And thanks to the talent of its fashion designers, it seems set to continue on this stellar path for many decades to come.