It’s clear that Italy is a big part of the fashion world today. Some of the largest and best-known fashion houses are based in Italy; other fashion lines employ Italian designers. Brands like Armani, Valentino, and Versace are admired the world over. Nearly every celebrity has worn the clothing of an Italian designer at one point or another.
However, the history of Italian fashion is longer than many people think. Italy first became known for the clothing it produced back in the 11th century. Fabrics, jewelry, hats and clothing came out of Italian cities like Milan, Venice, and Florence. Italian merchants ensured that these fashions were worn across the globe.
During this time, one of the things Italian designers were best known for were their accessories. The clothing these designers produced often included ribbons, jewels, and other decadent accessories. Italian clothing was also likely to be made from thick, luxurious materials, such as brocade and velvet.
With that said, Italy’s impact on the fashion scene lessened over time. In the 17th century, France began to overtake the fashion scene, and fashions of Italy fell out of style. While clothing from Italian designers was still worn in Italy, it was no longer popular on an international level.
Italy began to make a resurgence in 1950s, largely due to the efforts of a man named Giovanni Giorgini. Giorgini regularly held fashion soirées and parades, which he used to promote designers like Gucci and Ferragamo. The events were a huge success.
During this time, one of the biggest exports from Italy were their leather handbags. Designs from Gucci were particularly popular; Hollywood stars like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn were regularly photographed carrying Gucci handbags. In time, Italian fashion once again became associated with luxury and decadence.
In the 70s, Italian ready-to-wear designers began to gain prominence. These designers weren’t creating clothing for celebrities or runaways; they were making clothes that an ordinary man or woman might wear. Miniskirts were particularly popular during this time.
Many new labels began to gain attention in the 1990s. Miu Miu became quite popular, as did Geox. Dolce & Gabanna also saw an increase in attention during this time. People wanted to learn more about Italian designers and the products that they were creating. Magazines also made a point of pushing and promoting Italian brands.
Today, Milan is considered to be one of the major fashion capitals of the world. While Florence can’t compete with cities like Paris, New York, and Tokyo, it also plays a major role in the fashion world. There are also fashion houses based in Naples, Vicenza, and Bologna.
Italian styles are worn by men and women in nearly every country in the world. Many people make a point of visiting Italy’s incredible shopping districts.
While Italy’s fashions haven’t always been popular, they have a long and rich history. Italy is a major trendsetter in the fashion world, and it is likely that it’s houses will continue to set trends for quite some time.