Italian Fashion Designers & Brands: Krizia |


Krizia is the name Mariuccia Mandelli chose to make her dream come true. She borrowed it from the title of Plato’s unfinished dialogue on women’s vanity, spelling it with a K to make it sound more exotic. Plato’s Crizia is Mariuccia’s ideal man, who squanders all his riches on jewelry and clothing for beautiful and compliant women. At the beginning of the 50’s the Italian fashion designer, embarking on her adventure, kept repeating to herself: “I hope I will meet many men like him along the way. How lucky I would be then.”

Her hopes were to turn into reality. The girl from Bergamo, who as a child had enjoyed making dresses for her dolls, left the security of a teaching job for the risky realm of fashion design. With her friend Flora Dolci, she starts her business in a two-rooms flat in Milan. The Krizia fashion label is born on skirts. Dresses follow, in a fresh, young style, already featuring fitted sleeves framed by a flat smooth line. But it was tough at the beginning: making people appreciate her designs and obtaining loans from banks. In time, success is inevitable. Freedom of choice is her leit motif.

Pleating, careful attention to shoulders, and the use of fanciful animals on her clothes are only some of the distinctive features that turned Krizia’s creations into successes. Decided to ignore standards and models imposed by contemporary society, the soul and creator of Krizia believes that “every woman should dress as she pleases as long as what she wears becomes part of her.” Her fashion is adaptable to any lifestyle, situation or cultural revolution and still maintains a feminine touch. Over the years, Krizia’s constant research for new materials goes hand in hand with introducing new outlines.

Krizia’s creative flair shocked the public in 1957 at the SAMIA (Salone mercato internazionale dell’abbigliamento), when her first models were shown, including a series of fruit print dresses. Her eclectic taste and innovative style that break traditional conventions soon brought her the appellative of “Crazy Krizia”. Next came a striking black and white collection showed at the Pitti Palace in Florence in 1964, for which she was the first woman to win the “Critica della moda” prize. Always against the tide, in 1971, when on the catwalks you could only see “maxi” or “midi”, Krizia’s models wore the “mini” hot pants, which brought her the Tiberio d’oro award in Capri. The first ones of a long series, that includes the title of Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana in 1986, the Donna Ideale Leader in 1988 or the Premio Maschera D’Oro for her career in 1996.

Further acknowledgements of her work have been the exhibitions dedicated to the Italian fashion designer. The first came just after the scandal of “mani pulite” in which she was suspected to be caught up (but she was acquitted in 1998). In 1995 the show “Krizia, una storia” celebrated the 40 years of career of the Italian fashion house at the Triennale di Milano. In 1999 the maison landed in New York, where the Grey Art Gallery of the New York University was opened for the first time to a designer, in collaboration with Dante Ferretti for the scenography. Two years later, The Museum of Modern Art of Tokyo hosts the show “Krizia Moving shapes”.

Now the Milanese Palazzetto Melzi D’Eril, which  Mariuccia Mandelli bought in 1984, is the base of the company’s headquarters, her main showroom as well as a cultural centre where meetings and encounters take place every year. From singers to writers, Isabel Allende, Sting, Dario Fo are only some of the famous names appeared on its theatre. Krizia’s search for the ideal vacation spot led to her developing the resort of her dreams on the island of Barbuda in the British West Indies where she designed everything down to the silverware and uniforms for the maids. VIPs from all over the world (including The British Real family) have come to enjoy her luxurious version of the simple life.

In the Seventies, Krizia signed her first kids line, Kriziababy, and her knitwear line, Kriziamaglia, while the Krizia Uomo for men was launched in 1988. The “Crazy Krizia” style included the use of particular and luxurious materials such as eel skin, cork or gum, strange and innovative shapes as well as a rich color spectrum. Today over 50 collections a year are created for the various Krizia labels, which includes also glasses, handbags, ties, perfumery, kitchen furniture and much more.

Important collaborations, started since the first years of the new millennium, with young talents such as Alber Elbaz, Jean Paul-Knott, or the Italians Giambattista Valli e Gianluca Capannolo, have renewed the style of the fashion house-brand, bringing a breath of fresh air. Fulvio Ruggiero is the creative director of KRIZIAPOI, the second line created by the maison in collaboration with the leather-goods producer Miriade SpA: fresh and trendy accessories (bags, belts, shoes) designed for a young public.

With the strong support of her husband Aldo Pinto, who is in charge of the company’s organizational and commercial coordination, Mariuccia Mandelli manages a growing enterprise with increasing sales worldwide.


Palazzo Melzi d’Eril
Viale Daniele Manin, 19
20121 Milano, Italy
Tel: [+39] 02 620261
Fax: [+39] 02 6554013
Web: Krizia Italian Fashion House
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