Alta Roma, Alta Moda and the history of Fashion shows


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 ValentinoFendiRoberto CapucciRenato BalestraSorelle 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.


Easter is for the Christian world the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, on the third day after his crucifixion by the Romans, which occurred in the same period Jews celebrate the passover from Egypt to the promised land and secular culture celebrates the spring equinox, with bunnies, eggs, cakes and other pagan stuff full of ancient symbolism...among these, a cake shaped like a dove is a must on the Italian tables during Easter time...

Considering that a) doves have been used in all times and cultures as symbols of love, peace or as messengers of hope, new start and good luck, beyond borders, gates, cultural and religious divides...b) in the land of food every holiday has its own food... today we want to send you our warmest Easter greetings with a story of food, hope and creativity.


that in Italy you can't call it Easter, if you don't eat a slice of "Colomba"...a traditional cake fashioned into a dove shape, made the same way as the Christmas panettone, but with sugar pearls and almonds on the top.

The practice of eating Easter bread or sweetened "communion" bread traces its origin back to Byzantium and the Orthodox Christian church and the recipe may date back as far as the Homeric Greek period...on the other size the origin of the dove-shape is controversial: one version dates the bread to 572 a.c., when King Alboin conquered Pavia after a three-year siege and demanded a magnificent tribute, including 12 virgins: the clever 12th, when called to the king's bed, presented a dove-shaped bread, and the king was so charmed by this simple gesture that he set her free, saved Pavia from destruction and made it his capital. Another legend connects the cake to Saint Colombano who at the beginning of the 7th century, when Queen Teodolinda refused a rich banquet of meats to observe the traditional Friday abstinence from meat consumption,  transformed the food served in white and crisp breads dove-shaped...Finally, a third version dates the colomba back to 1176, commemorating the victory of the Lombard League over the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, when three doves representing the Holy Spirit came to rest over the Lombard signs, bringing fortune and victory. 

The first to standardize the colomba recipe and commercialize it in the early 1900's, was the Milanese company founded by the baker and businessman Angelo Motta. 

Easter time, almost one century ago, Dino Villani, the commercial director of Motta - a brand already well known for its famous Christmas cakes (panettoni and pandori) - had the clever intuition to re-use Christmas machinery and ingredients in the subsequent months, just adding to the traditional dough of the Xmas panettone, a surface layer of almonds and sugar pearls: this simple idea proved to be very soon an industrial success of big proportions and has made the colomba the most popular and imitated food symbol of the Christian Easter, a must-have for all the Italian tables worth of respect.

foto per culinary.jpg


BAU ROME in collaboration with BAUSEM Istanbul




Ideal for food/life bloggers, amateurs, entrepreneurs, journalists

13 May: Arrival in the morning, pick up at the airport for the hotel

16.00 - 22.00 DO & EAT IT MasterClass

Master Class with an Italian Professional chef: cooking and eating a typical Italian dinner, from the appetizers to the dessert.

At the end of this session, participants will receive a Master Class Certificate of Attendance

14 May: 15.30 - 19.00 How to Brand Food: Italian Families secret formulas: case study, Roscioli Rome

1. Exploring the Roscioli family secret formula: Bakery, Enoteca, Bar and Gourmet Shop in the heart of Rome 

2. Tasting Session at Rimessa Roscioli: 5 great Italian wines coupled with breads, cheese and seeds

3. Dinner at the Roscioli Restaurant

At the end of this session, participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance by Roscioli & BAU Rome

15 May: Pick up at the hotel for Fiumicino

APPLY NOW or WRITE to to tailor your program

ROME calls DAKAR: signed the agreement with"African Fashion Gate"

Meeting Nicola Paparusso - politologist, writer, producer and general secretary of African Fashion Gate (AFG) -  is itself an experience of taste and creativity "100% made in Italy", coupled with the vibrant exuberance of the African continent. 

Nicola believes in the economics of abundance and in the multiplier effect of creativity, when it is mission driven and purpose oriented. Motivated by his innate optimism and passion for seeking talent, together with AFG  - the NGO created with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Communication for Senegal - he is working hard to change the western perception of the African fabrics, textiles and Fashion, prepare African designers to work with western peers and retailers, and create sustainable trade agreements benefiting all parties involved .

Quite a challenging mission, that is producing fast results, because if it's true that  "Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening(Coco Chanel), well the contribution of "the African touch" to the western Fashion system has  already been huge in the last few years: think of the summer/spring 2012 collection of Louis Vuitton using the iconic red Shuka worn by the Maasai people from Kenya or the ‘Ghana must Go’ bags 2007 by M. Jacobs again for Louis Vuitton...

Above and beyond the big brands' collections - that sometimes have the power to set a new trend, some other times to acknowledge it - it is a matter of fact that in the last years the colorful swags, eye-catching mix of colors and animalier prints typical of the African clothing  have become worthy pieces every woman needs in her wardrobe.

So far, many Italian and european stylists, designer and entrepreneurs have been producing in Africa, by developing collaborations with African entrepreneurs and drawing inspiration from the African colorful and mixed style. The results of these collaborations have been very interesting in term of economic impact on the territory and the african women entrepreneurial community. 

One of the most notable representatives of this trend is Ilaria Venturini Fendi, who already in the 2011, in Seoul, was awarded the Grand Prize for ethical fashion design by the World Fashion Development program, to recognize her outstanding  efforts in creating "Made in Africa" collections of accessories and pieces of furniture, by using locally sourced reclaimed materials and the support of local micro-producers.

Now, African Fashion Gate is ready to move forward and beyond: it's high time to harness the power of the fashion industry to disclose the talent of (semi)anonymous african designers and stylists to the western world and publicly value and recognize their amazing work. 

Nicola and the staff of AFG, endorsed by a network of distinguished entrepreneurs, politicians, economists, artists and goodwill ambassadors, are pursuing this objective inspired by a new business model called "Economethica", which basically aims to create transparent, ethical and sustainable trade agreements between local and foreign entrepreneurs and use part of the profits to fund new start-ups,  support the education system and create new employment opportunities.

Among the several activities and the most vibrant initiatives so far conducted by AFG, it is worth to mention: 

- the new black models agency providing equal international opportunities to black models, the so called "black swans";  

- the amazing parade of black and white swans wearing haute couture models created by stylists from Senegal, Tunisia, Congo and Cameroon such as Colle Ardu Sow, Anggy Haif, Fawzi Nawar and Pathé Dia, organized last year in the magnificent Halls of the Louvre in Paris, with the musical background of Mao Otayeck and Stevie Wonder, that will be repeated this year in collaboration with the students of Communication and Design of BAU International Academy of Rome

- the "Worldwide Catwalks" Project, a series of amazing events that AFG has been organizing to promote African fashion and design, from Naples, to Rome, Milan. Paris and finally...Dakar, where - under the high patronage of the President of  Senegal Aziz Mbaye and the famous lebanese entrepreneur Alex Kfoury Rabiah - the magic splendor of the Paris-Dakar rally will be revamped this coming september,  by paving the senegalese desert with a plexiglass catwalk for the runway walks of the most important First Ladies of the world, who will crown the city of Dakar as leading capital of the "Black Fashion".

Education is a fundamental pillar of this project and the memorandum of understanding signed by the Director of BAU International Academy of Rome, Francesca de Palo, and the General Secretary of AFG,  aims exactly to seek new talents and create a new class of African entrepreneurs, designers and creative people inspired by the masters of the Made in Italy brand. 


Enroll now in the Course of Fashion and Luxury Design!

10 weeks starting on June 6 2017 / 4 weeks starting on June 27 2017

Apply by filling this form sending  cv, cover letter, three photos id format and your toefl/ielts certificate to


Ilaria Fendi, heiress and former designer for Fendi, has stepped aside from her birthright to pursue her own ventures. She has founded an environmentally conscious accessories label called 'Carmina Campus' that creates luxury products from recycled materials


Happy Women's Day from BAU Rome!

Today we want to celebrate the WOMEN'S DAY with a tribute to three special women “MADE IN ITALY “, who with their nipped waist dresses and full skirts, redefined 20th century femininity and provided a benchmark for the haute couture and the ready-to-wear, for many years to come: Fontana Sisters.

Everything started in 1936 at the railway station of Traversetolo, a small village near Parma. Zoe pushed by her self confidence, the experience gained  in Paris and the big dream to make her fortune in Rome or Milan, trusted the destiny with the task to decide her future: she took the first train departing from the tiny station of Traversetolo, without knowing the destination, if north or south, with the only solid determination to stop in the first biggest city on the road...the destiny decided for Rome.

In the capital city of the Italian aristocracy, Zoe worked as a couturier in the most famous ateliers of Rome serving clients such as Queen Elena and  Gioia Marconi Braga, who later became - with her circle of friends - one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the sisters..Working with full dedication and commitment, Zoe "the golden scissors" gained such a reputation that first of all invited Micol and Joanna to reach her...then, together again, the three sisters started gaining their own clients with simple but smart marketing solutions such as by sending their employees dressed up for lunch in the streets of Rome with the goal to come back with new clients interested to buy the same dress ...

The sisters' passion for women's elegance, accessories, embroidery, early renaissance style, silk and velvet, made their fortune when Hollywood discovered Italy and "la dolce vita" in the 1950s. A crucial event was the marriage of the Hollywoodian actors Tyrone Power and Linda Christian, whose wedding gown of white satin was designed by the sisters with a five-yard train fully covered with embroidery. The international press covered the event and a radiant Linda Christian in a fairy tale princess gown, made the name Fontana incredibly popular all of a sudden.

When in 1951 the sisters accepted the invitation of Giovanni Battista Giorgini to join  the first Italian fashion show held in Florence, at  Palazzo Pitti, their name was already known to the international jet set. That same year Micol Fontana was introduced by Tyrone Power to the Hollywood community and from that moment women such as Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret Trujillo (the Santo Domingo dictator’s wife who ordered Sorelle Fontana’s atelier 150 dress), Grace Kelly, Margaret Truman (President Harry S. Truman’s daughter), Jackie Kennedy, Soraya Esfandiary, Marella Agnelli (of the family that runs the Fiat), Maria Pia di Savoia, (one of the daughters of last king of Italy, Umberto of Savoia) became some of their regular customers. In the '60s the sisters’ love for the USA continued to deepen and upon request of the American market, they introduced a line of ready-to-wear clothes and accessories, such as furs, umbrellas, scarves, costume jewelry, and table linen

In her diary Micol - who was responsible for travelling and selling abroad, while Zoe was handling PR and Giovanna supervising work in the Roman atelier -  wrote that she felt more at home in America than in Italy and that it was the special connection with Hollywood, the international film industry and jet set together with the inspiration received from the daily routine of the American working women, to give their collections such an incredible popularity. On the other hand, the Fontana touch and ingenuity is uniquely inspired by a mix of tangibles and intangibles that you can only understand if you live in Italywalk in the Italian streets, think and eat Italian... think of some of their dresses that have been recognised timeless masterpieces of art, worth to be exposed in the Metropolitan Museums of NY, San Francisco, Venice ... , such as the scandalous "cassock dress" worn by Ava Gardner in the "Barefoot Contessa" that later inspired Mr Donati to design the dress that immortalized Anita Ekberg in her interpretation of Rome and "Dolce Vita".

The Bio of the 3 sisters provides a unique example of Women's entrepreneurship, achievements and dedication to what you are uniquely born for. 

Happy Women's day from the Eternal City!

ROME calls MOSCOW "The Modern School of Design".



The WORLD IS YOUR CAMPUS - This is the motto of BAU Global, one of the largest Global Networks in the Education sector, including International Academy of Rome, the new BAU School of Architecture, Fashion, Design and Entrepreneurship in Italy.

Here in Rome we are happy to recruit and receive students from all cities, countries and continents, firmly pursuing our mission, that  has no borders.

In keeping with this goal we reserve special attention to building ties and expanding our collaborations with international partners, interested to offer specialization opportunities in the critical success fields of the Made in Italy Brand. And today we are proud to present you our new partner in Moscow (Russia): 


Experiment, Try and Create

The Modern School of Design is a Private Institution in the sector of lifelong learning and additional professional education, offering annual programs and short certificates in Design, applied to interiors, fashion, environment, landscape, graphics, advertising. Every year 200 students complete here their pathways in several design areas, and the School is especially committed to enhance their employment opportunities in the national and international marketplace, through special events  and collaborations with renowned experts of design, companies, organizations and institutions  worldwide, that can enrich their students' portfolio and experience with that mark of distinction and uniqueness that make the difference.

If you are in Moscow this Sunday, 5th of March, join the  FASHION SHOW organized by the School to present the collections of the best representatives of the last cohort of graduates. 

127030, Moscow, Suschevskaya 19-4, +7 (495) 787 63 52+7 (495) 220 71 36,


“The Italian Genius Tour”. BAU International Academy of Rome meets Mukogawa Women's University.


The Italian Genius Tour organized by BAU International Academy of Rome for the Department of Architecture of Mukogawa Women's University  in collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture and Design of Bahcesehir University Istanbul, is touching the most important stations of the history of Italian Art and Architecture from the ancient Rome to the Renaissance and Baroque. The cities of Rome, Florence, Naples, Assisi and Arezzo are showcasing the beauty, the history and the culture that make the Made in Italy brand so reputable and successful all over the world: because it's unique relationship with history and tradition that provide an inimitable mark of distinction, both tangible and intangible, to whatever is "made in Italy".

BAU International Academy of Rome is  officially authorized by the Italian Ministry of Education and it is a reputable school that offers - also in collaboration with Italian and international institutions - specialization courses, Mini-Masters, MBA and pathways in the fields of excellence of the Made in Italy brand, such as Art, Architecture, Design, Luxury, Fashion, Food, Innovation, Experimential Tourism & Education.

"Italian Genius Tour": the Stations

DAY 1 Colosseum, Trajan’s Market, Marcello Theater, Casa dei Crescenzi, Foro Boario

DAY 2 The Caracalla area and the Appian way. San Paolo, Baths of Caracalla, Appia Antica, Acqua Claudia. Porta Maggiore 

DAY 3 Renaissance and Baroque in Rome, Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Piazza del Popolo, Santa Maria del Popolo, Spagna. The roman Baroque: San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, St Andrew's at The Quirinal Santa Maria Maggiore

DAY 4 The Baroque and the ancient roman remains. the Pantheon. The Baroque: Navona square, Santa Maria della Pace Sant’ Agnese in Agone, San Luigi dei Francesi,  San Pietro in Montorio, Piazza Venezia, Campidoglio Santa Maria della Vittoria 

DAY 5 Day trip to Tivoli & Borghese Visit. Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana. Borghese tour 

DAY 6 The Vaticans Museums. Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Dome, Castel St Angelo 

DAY 7 Day Trip to Pompei and Naples.The national archeological museum 

DAY 8 Day trip to Assisi and Arezzo with visit to Piazza Grande, San Francesco, Santa Maria della Pieve 

DAY 9 Trip to Florence, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce, The Duomo complex and  the Belltower

DAY 10  Florence and San Lorenzo church, Accademia Gallery, David of Michelangelo,  the Laurenziana library, the Accademia gallery.




Designers have their own distinct way of understanding the world,  “Artists and scientists operate in the physical world as it exists in the present; mathematicians operate on abstract relationships; designers treat as real what exists in a imagined future and show how the foreseen thing can be made” John Chris Jones, 1992 

As a matter of fact, designers can give a shape to an idea and are naturally born to anticipate times. This is a talent which belongs to people with an outstanding personality, unique identity, strong beliefs and passion for life. Italians are renowned in the world for their  passion for design,  which  is inspired by history, driven by a unique relationship with art, fueled by an outstanding ability to innovate and adapt tradition to new needs, enhanced by craftsmanship and traditional gestures. 

The bio of Ilaria Venturini Fendi, one of the most innovative designers and entrepreneurs in the fashion industry today, distinguished member of the BAU community in Rome, leading coach and mentor of  Minimaster in Fashion Design,  provides a valuable example of how a natural born Italian designer has innovated  the fashion industry - one of the industries most subject to change rapidly and unpredictably - with her passion for eternity, durability,  ethics and aestethics. "Things should be beautiful but also good": Ilaria tells the celebrity wish maker Simonetta Lein why Ethical Fashion is becoming the Rule (read interview).



“Made in Italy” Art, Heritage & Design through the eyes of the students of Bahcesehir University - Istanbul

The concept of this exhibition organized by BAU students to show their intensive journey of learning, experiencing, getting inspirations and creating in the Eternal city: a city in constant flux  where permanence, heritage and tradition have inspired our students to design museums, spaces and visuals able to connect historic layers, creative sectors, people with diverse interests, tangible and intangible.., around the history of Italian creativity and design. 

Best work will be awarded with the grant of an internship in the summer session. and 50% bonus on the enrollment fee will be available until the 10th of January 2017 to the best candidates for our MBA, certificates and Mini-Master programs in fashion design, luxury brands and placemaking.


21 Decembre 2016 at 6:30 PM
RSVP to  or +39 06 56568872


BAU International Academy of Rome
Via IV Novembre 11, Roma 00187

Fuksas Cloud: the new congress center of Rome

From 8 to 11 december the Fuksas Cloud, the new congress center of Rome inspired by the clouds in the sky, will open its doors to the public.

Projected by da Massimiliano e Doriana Fuksas and launched on 29 october, the Fuksas Cloud is a work of extraordinary artistic value characterized by innovative solutions, an environmentally friendly approach and cutting-edge technologies. The project is based on 3 elements: the case, the cloud and the hotel.

The cloud is undoubtedly the most peculiar architectural element: the structure, with its extraordinary visual effect, floats in a case made of glass and steel. The case is 40 meters high, 70 meters large and 175 meters long. The complex has nearly 8000 seats and can host many kind of events. It includes a luxury hotel.


From 8 to 11 december 2016




Viale Asia, 40-44

00144 Rome



Fuksas Cloud

The 16th Art Quadriennale

1-16th-art quadriennale-Bau-International-Academy-of-Rome-news.jpg

The 16th Art Quadriennale is an important exhibition dedicated to the most representative trends of Italian contemporary visual arts.

It is the result of a multiple vision entrusted to ten different curators selected through a call for project, each one of whom has developed an individual project of his or her own:

Simone Ciglia and Luigia Lonardelli (who submitted a joint project signed by both), Michele D’Aurizio, Luigi Fassi, Simone Frangi, Luca Lo Pinto, Matteo Lucchetti, Marta Papini, Cristiana Perrella, Domenico Quaranta and Denis Viva.

The projects as a whole envisage the presence of approximately 100 artists participating with works of a whole range of different kinds, accompanied by a full calendar of events.

The novel aspect of this 16a Quadriennale d'Arte lies in its conception and development as a kind of work in progress in the course of which different players will be called on to work together and to take each other's measure.


From 1 october 2016 to 8 january 2017


Palazzo delle Esposizioni
Via Nazionale 194, Rome


16th Art Quadriennale