NOT EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT:
Fashion shows become increasingly popular during the last decades of the 19th century to show the latest clothes and outfits mainly created in the Parisian ateliers. Before then stylists used to promote their new collections through magazines, sketches, paintings of noblewomen and occasional exhibitions of pupae, i.e. life-size dolls displaying their creations. The first to use live models and to sew branded labels into his garments, was Charles Frederick Worth, an english fashion designer established in Paris, who is also credited to be the father of Haute Couture. Worth raised the status of the fashion designer from simple tailor to trend setter and arbiter of what women should be wearing, the colors, the fabrics and their combinations with accessories and body silhouette. A few decades later, Paul Poiret was the first haute couturier - grown up at the House of Worth - to use fashion shows and sensational parties to draw attention to his work, and emphasize their artistic value more than formal appearance. Poiret used to arrange his fashion parades in combination with reading sessions of poetry, exhibitions of paintings (such as by Picasso, Modigliani etc), music concerts ...and in 1912 he reached the peak by presenting his new collection with a concert tour in the major European capitals. The experiment was repeated the following year in the United States and for the very first time fashion parades left their ateliers to become impressive events showing artistic collections other than those manufactured for sale and requiring specific organizational skills.
The very first Italian fashion show of great international importance was organized in 1951 by Count Giovanni Battista Giorgini in the White Hall of Palazzo Pitti, that had served for many years in Florence as royal palace of the Dukes of Tuscany.
For the very first time an Italian fashion show was organized not by a single atelier or a stylist in a department store, but as a great event aimed to celebrate the Made in Italy craftsmanshipasa form of art and Florence as the city of a post-war new Renaissance of applied arts. The event was attended by a selected audience of foreign journalists and buyers of leading American department stores and marked the success of the Haute-couture made in Italy vs the Haute-Couture made in Paris (watch this vintage video report of the Italian National Radio-Television, dated 1951)
Then in the mid-sixties Florence was progressively deposed of its position as the capital of Italian Fashion and replaced by Rome, which grew in importance as high fashion pole in the country thanks to the creations of Valentino, Fendi, Roberto Capucci, Renato Balestra, Sorelle Fontana and Gattinoni, and the establishment of the National Chamber of the Italian Fashion, a non profit organization which develops and promotes the Italian Fashion throughout the world. In 1967 the haute couture fashion shows moved permanently to Rome, and Florence specialized on knitwear, exhibition of men’s clothing, accessories and, in the recents years, also garments for children. Finally in the seventies then-new labels, such as Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianfranco Ferré, Romeo Gigli, Krizia, Missoni, Moschino, Luciano Soprani, Trussardi, Versace and many others specialized on ready-to-wear clothes, such as coats, jackets, trousers, shirts, jeans, jumpers and miniskirts. left the catwalks of the Pitti Sala Bianca to parade in Milan, provokingin the history of Italian fashion a change comparable to the one that in 1951 had toppled the Parisian leadership. In the space of a decade, Milan has become the international capital of ready-to-wear, Rome has specialized on haute couture, craftsmanship and its connections with the cinema and cultural industry. As a matter of fact Rome has the Cinecittà studios, the largest film and television production company in continental Europe and the headquarter of the Italian cinema, together with the Maisons of Valentino, Fendi, Balestra, Biagiotti and museums and foundations of famous ateliers working since last century for the the Italian, international and Hollywoodian jet-set, such as Sorelle Fontana, AnnaMode, Tirelli and Farani and dictating the rules of beauty and high-style to the world through the cinema screens. Today the country's main shopping districts are Via dei Condotti in Rome, Via Montenapoleone fashion district in Milan, and Via de' Tornabuoni in Florence. The main events of Italian Fashion are AltaModaAltaRoma for the haute-couture, in January and July; Milan Fashion Week for the pret-a-porter in February and September; Pitti for Men, children and knitwear in June.
Last year AltaModaAltaRoma has reconfirmed its reputation to be an incredibly vital hub of "Artisanal Intelligence" with many new stylists and young designers showing their MADE in ITALY haute-couture creations inspired to the Eternal city, its streets, architecture, cinema and culture and the inauguration of the former military area Guido Reni as a new venue for the catwalks, in addition to the centre of Rome, which has added a touch of industrial glamour to the Roman parade (see more and save the page in your bookmarks to receive soon the agenda of the July Event) ; Milan Fashion week on the other hand last year has testified the impact of technology and social media on the Italian fashion system, by giving the opportunity to watch online and real time a huge number of catwalks and events, thus magnifying the international exposure of the event. Rome, Milan and Florence are ambassadors of the inimitable Italian fashion style in the world and last year the annual raking produced by the Global Language Monitor has reconfirmed their reputation in the Hall of Fame of the top 25 cities dictating paradigms of the 21st century fashion, as respectively the 5th, the 6th and the 11th major capitals of the fashion world.