Her destiny was written on her name. Born in 1943 near Trieste, Raffaella Curiel had fashion in her blood. Her mother Gigliola owned a famous atelier in her native city, which had gained her notoriety between the aristocrats of her time; she was the first one to bring the Italian ready-to-wear fashion to the USA, with her “Curiellino”, a casual dress women could wear all-day long.
Following her mother’s footsteps, Raffaella Curiel trained in the family atelier as well as in the Pierre Balmain French school, and in 1965 presented her first pret-à-porter collection in New York for Bergdorf Goodman. After her mother’s death, Raffaella opened her first boutique in 1970, which is soon followed by many others all over the world, from New York to Japan.
Raffaella has a strong interest for arts as well as the intellectual world she’s always been surrounded by. Arts and culture are crucial to her career, so much that they brought her the appellative of “Intellectual of fashion”. From her very first collection, her artistic touch and sensitivity can be noticeable. Inspired by their paintings, the Italian designer renders homage to Picasso, Manet, the Impressionism, Klimt, Velazquez and many others. But she takes her cue also from her trips and from the romances she likes to read: from Victor Hugo to the Asian world, passing by Frida Khalo.
Her artistic work is expressed through precious fabrics, modern shapes, original details, refined embroidery needleworks merged to reach an overall elegance that distinguishes her from the others. Her outfits are appreciated also by celebrities and politicians, from Hillary Clinton to Gina Lollobrigida or the wife of Mubarak. The “Intellectual of fashion” has been having a worldwide success since her first show.
From the 80’s and 90’s Raffaella Curiel signed not only ready-to-wear collections, but also accessories from eyewear to jewels, watches, bags, foulards, and even home decorations. In 1990 she launches the first Curiel Perfume, followed by its second version five years later. Since 1993 Raffaella Curiel is assisted by her daughter Gigliola Curiel, who helps her to bring the brand to the peak of success.
Throughout the years, Raffaella was invested with various accolades, from the title of Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Italian Republic, to the Ambrogino D’Oro, prize given by the city of Milan, or the Lupa di bronzo from the city of Rome as ambassador of Italian fashion in the world. Between the reasons for all these awards, there isn’t only her work as a designer, but also her personality and her generous character that brought her to engage in different type of initiatives.
Her commitment to social causes begins in 1965, as she works for a centre helping children who suffer from Down’s syndrome. She’s in the front line in the fight against cancer, as well as the founder of the Lombardy League for the fight against drugs. In the Nineties working as a volunteer for the Red Cross, she starts to promote blood donation. During an era in which anorexia represents the main plague of the fashion world, Raffaella Curiel declared that her models shouldn’t have been as thin as the standards we were used to. Her attention is also towards the women in jail, which leads to her collaboration with the San Vittore prison.
Raffaella Curiel strong relationship with arts was the reason why her native city Trieste dedicated her an exhibition in the summer of 2010. In the suggestive landscape of Palazzo Costanzi, the show was meant not only to expose Curiel’s creations, but also to create a cultural space where fashion can meet arts, music and literature, just as Raffaella Curiel did in her works. Just in this occasion, the promoter of the show, the F.I.D.A.P.A. (Federazione Italiana Donne Arti Professioni Affari), presented the stylist with the Woman of the Year award. Well, she has been without any doubt a strong, determined woman as well as a real artist of the Italian fashion.
Raffaella Curiel SrlCorso Giacomo Matteotti, 14
20121 Milano, Italy
Tel: è+39] 02 7600 6280