Why Italians dominate the fashion industry
Fashion is fundamental in our society, the way we dress is an insight of who we are and our heritage. Dressing well is a sign of self-care and indicates to people that you encounter; your image is special to you. Italian fashion culture is a worldwide phenomenon, starting from the Renaissance to the 21st century, Italy is the centre of the universe for fashion.
Milan is known as the most fashionable city in the world; the home to the most prestigious fashion houses such as Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and Versace. I will teach you everything you need to know about Italian fashion from the history to style tips for how to dress like an elegant Italian.
Italian Fashion History:
Let’s start with the fascinating history of the Italian fashion culture and the influences which lead to the international success of the distinct elegant Italian style. You would think fashion was born in Milan as the city is the root of fashion culture. However, in the course of the Renaissance, Aristocrats in Florence delved into the world of fashion by celebrating their wealth through sophisticated clothing and expensive jewelry.
Fast forward to the 20th century, entrepreneur Giovanni Battista Giorgini discovered the power fashion would bring to Italy as clothing wasn’t well celebrated around the world. Giorgini took on the challenge to organise the first fashion show in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence in February 1951.
Gathering the finest clothing from dress makers and tailor makers all over Italy, Giorgini emphasised the natural beauty of Italian fashion. Giorgini’s exhibition was a hit with the American audience, they were so astonished by the remarkable clothing, months later department stores in America were flooded with Italian fashion.
In the late 1950s and 60s, Hollywood were amazed by the beautiful culture of Italy; iconic movies were then filmed in major cities such as Rome and Florence. The actors were spotted in Italy embracing the culture around them and wearing the wonderful fashion, this led to the worldwide phenomenon of the Italian fashion culture.
Famous actors like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor have all been in the spotlight whilst wearing the prestigious brands including Bulgari and Ferregamo.
Why is the Italian style so iconic?
Sonnet Stanfill– curator of contemporary fashion at the V&A states “Real Italians care passionately about their appearance.” When Stanfill lived in Italy, she admired the surrounding culture of the fashionable Italians who dressed up to celebrate their image and personality. The innovation and creativity within the fashion industry is a non-linear process which grants the fashion industry as the third largest in Italy. The exquisite clothing represents the glamour within the Italian culture, alluring an international reception which admire and respect the sophisticated Italians.
So how do you dress like an Italian?
Italians are the most fashionable nation in the world especially the women who are deemed elegant and sophisticated. The phrase ‘La Bella Figura’ is the epitome of the Italian women’s style, meaning ‘beautiful figure’ symbolises the type of clothing these women wear to highlight their figure underneath their stylish clothing.
A typical outfit an Italian woman would wear whilst strutting down the streets like it’s her run way is a classical little black dress (LBD) with spaghetti straps paired with a stylish pair of stilettos.
This is a simple but exemplary outfit worn by women all over the world who were inspired by Italian fashion. Another example of a typical outfit is a silky blouse tucked into wide leg trousers, this tasteful look is graceful and opulent. Moreover, Italian women are also famously known for wearing jeans paired with blouses or a blazer to enhance their comfy look to a cosmopolitan, chic outfit. These outfits plus many more classical styles are simple but effective, the balance of luxury and confidence radiates beauty.
Adding drama to their outfits with accessories and different tones signify the quality of the basic necessities of building an iconic outfit, even the power of make-up can turn a sophisticated outfit into a statement piece with a red lipstick or even painted nails.
How Not To Look Like a Tourist When Visiting Italy.
Would you like to blend in with Italians?
In these videos I’ll tell you and show you what you shouldn’t wear if you don’t want to look like a tourist. In addition, you are going to learn a lot of clothing vocabulary so you can show off when going shopping with your friends in Italy.
By all means these are only suggestions which might help you to avoid being an easy target for pick-pockets. When in Rome, pay extra attention if you take bus 64 towards Termini rail station. Women should expect men attention if wearing revealing clothing, however, most of the times this is harmless. Nevertheless, be extra vigilant when traveling alone especially on packed buses.
Avoid walking by yourself at night especially in the dark and never lose control by over drinking if you are with people you do not know.
How not to look like a tourist part 1
Now take this fun test to how much vocabulary you learned.
How not to look like a tourist part 2
Italian fashion designers:
Let’s explore some of the most famous luxury brands Italy and why they are prevalent in Italian fashion culture.
Gucci is one of the most renowned Italian luxury brands best known for their distinguished accessories that have flooded the fashion market by a storm. Founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence, a craftsman who supplied saddles and accessories for horse riders. Gucci became an interest to British aristocrats in the 1950s for his distinct style, this then led to the rise in global popularity for Gucci to create a grandeur range of leather accessories including bags and belts.
Mario Prada’s wonderful brand flourished in 1913 from selling leather goods such as travel accessories and bags in Milan. Mario decided he didn’t want any of his female family members to get involved with the business as he wanted the brand to be male dominated. However, his granddaughter Miuccia Prada made the business bloom by 1978. Even to this day Prada are best known for their classic variety of leather bags, perfect to accessorise a classy outfit.
Valentino Garavani opened the lavish clothing house in 1960 in Rome. Valentino was popularised in Florence, which was originally the birth of Italian fashion before Milan, where he introduced his designer couture to the world. After this revelation, Valentino became a respected brand, famously known for designing wedding dresses for celebrities. Although he is retired, the name of the brand still dominates the world of fashion.
Gianni Versace launched his incredible fashion brand in 1978, where he displayed his clothing collection for women. The ‘siren dress’ became the hallmark of Versace worn by a range of celebrities including Beyoncé. Versace also designed a variety of clothing for Princess Diana, who became famously known as the poster girl for the brand. Sadly, Gianni died in 1997 but his extravagant brand lives on to this day by his sister Donatella Versace, the chief creative officer.
The future of fashion:
Fashion is still prevalent in today’s society, the rise of social media influencers on YouTube and Instagram are constantly promoting outfit ideas whilst wearing specific branded clothing. While fashion takes on new levels of quirky trends and flamboyant outfits, Italy will forever be the pulse of the fashion industry.
New looks in the world are always inspired by previous trends; no other country can dominate the true refined and cultivated fashion like the Italians.
Next time you’re going out and can’t decide what to wear, why not throw on your favourite jeans with a blouse or mix up your usual style with accessories. Be daring and wear a bold red lip, if you feel like you look too much, then you have mastered the true Italian style of too much is a celebration of the everyday.
Tell your friends that your outfit is inspired by Italian street fashion, I’m sure they will look up to you as the fashion guru of your group. Embrace your personality through the power of fashion, don’t be afraid to look too much.