Italian fashion is synonymous with opulent laces and luxurious velvets. It is a place where you can find the finest materials, most beautiful cuts, and most intricate detailing. Italian designers have been carving their niche in the industry for over a century now. Today, there are many famous designers from Italy who not only continue this legacy but also experiment with patterns, fabrics, colours, textures, and accessories to set new trends globally. Here’s an overview of how Italian fashion changed with designers.
The 1930s – The golden era of Italian fashion
The 1930s was a period when Italian fashion was at its zenith. During this decade, the glamour and glitz of Hollywood’s silver screen had begun to influence how people dressed. Fabrics such as satin, taffeta, and velvet were commonplace as were bold motifs, such as tropical prints, polka dots, and paisley. There was also a lot of experimentation with silhouettes and styles. The “tuxedo” jacket was created by Mario Patelli and the “pea jacket” by G. Ferragamo. The fedora hat and the stiletto heel were also the first of their kind to be designed and manufactured in Italy.
The 1940s – Everything’s rationed, even fabric
If there’s one thing that is serious about Italian fashion, it is its fabrics. Italy was the first country to produce silk fabric with the finest laces, cashmere, and wool in the world. It is no surprise then that, during the Second World War, the fabric mills remained the only important industry in Italy, producing materials for uniforms, parachutes, tents, and blankets. During this time, fabrics were only available in black or brown, and there was also a ban on zippers and buttons. Designers had to be much more creative, and they often stitched their creations together and added beading or embroidery instead of buttons.
The 1950s – When everything was hot and Latin
It was the 1950s when Italian fashion was dominated by hot Latin styles. The country was filled with an energy that was fuelled by the new Italian republic, the rise of Italian cinema, and the blossoming interest in Latin American countries. Italian designers used vibrant colours, bold prints, and opulent fabrics to create a style that was as flamboyant as the “Latin lover”. These styles were often paired with accessories like wide belts, fedoras, and large cuffs. The famous designers of the 1950s were Nino Cerruti, Enrico Coveri, and Nino Barbieri.
The 1960s – The decade of decadence and excess
The 1960s was a period of decadence, excess, and opulence in every form of art, fashion, and entertainment. The “swinging London” had begun to dominate the world with its bold prints, solid colours, and a lot of texture and shine. In Italy, designers like Emilio Pucci and Roberto Capucci used bold colours, floral prints, and exotic materials
The 1970s – More rebellion and colour
The 1970s marked a period of rebellion and experimentation worldwide. Even Italian fashion didn’t stay untouched by this and moved towards brighter colours and more Western influences. This decade saw the rise of the Italian “joie de vivre” and a lot of creativity in every art form. It saw a shift towards ethnic influences and bright colours. The 1970s saw the rise of the “designer” and was marked by experiments with fabrics and motifs.
The 1980s – A time for experimentation
The 1980s marked the end of an era for Italian fashion. It was a period when designers experimented with various fabrics and “new” fabrics like Lycra and polyester were used to create bold new silhouettes. Italian designers like Gianni Versace, Ferretti, and Giancarlo Marco were inspired by bold Latin cultures and experimented with bright colours and bold prints. The 1980s saw the dawn of new fabrics and the creation of different styles.
The 1990s - The rise of the supermodels
The 1990s marked a period when supermodels began to take over the world. Elle Macpherson, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, and others had become household names and their “comeback” was inspired by Italian fashion. Designers like Roberto Capucci, Giorgio Armani, and Versace continued to experiment with fabrics and shapes and fusions.
2000-2010 - High-end luxury becomes more accessible
The 21st century also saw the rise of a new breed of Italian designers who changed the face of the fashion industry. Designers like Alessandro Dell'Appa, Priscilla and Pia Bacconi, Enrico Biscotti, and Roberto Cavalli brought about a new trend of high-end, luxurious fashion that was accessible to all. This decade saw a mix of traditional Italian fashion and modern trends that were a game-changer for the Italian fashion industry.
Italian fashion has a rich history, and it has been shaped by every major event and cultural shift that has ever happened in the country. The designers of today are an embodiment of the best that Italian fashion has to offer. And even though they may be influenced by trends from other countries, they always manage to add their unique twist to it and make it stand out. This article on how Italian fashion changed with designers is a comprehensive overview of the major changes that occurred in the industry over the last century. It's a great introduction for anyone who wants to know more about the history of Italian fashion.