Despite the fact that Milan is internationally known to be the Italian fashion’s capital city, the haute couture industry was born in Florence. On 12 February 1951, the businessman Giovanni Battista Giorgini held a fashion show at Villa Torrigiani. On that occasion, many international buyers were present and discovered the elegance of “Made in Italy” with much more competitive prices than Paris fashion. No surprise that Florence boasts many fashion designers. Here’s a list of the most famous.
After spending thirteen years in the US, Salvatore Ferragamo, a guy born near Avellino (Campania) returned to Italy in 1927. In Florence, he began to create shoes for the powerful and wealthiest women of those years. Florence is home to the Ferragamo Museum which was opened to the public in 1995 by the Ferragamo family to illustrate Ferragamo’s artistic skills and the important role he played in the history of shoe design and international fashion. This iconic place boasts a collection of 10,000 shoes designed by the artist between 1920 and 1960 as well as photographs, sketches, books and magazines. The museum includes films, press cuttings, clothes and accessories from the 1950s to the present day. Similarly, the museum arranges exhibitions of its own historical collection with the participation of contemporary artists and promotes and hosts events linked to art and culture.
The Gucci brand was created in Florence in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, the founder, while workng in London as a porter at the Savoy Hotel. He became inspired to create his first collection of luggage. Guccio worked in his leather shop in Florence for many year and later decided to create this family brand and expanded his business to Rome and then to New York City. In Florence, you’ll find the Gucci Museum, housed inside the medieval Palazzo della Mercanzia, which provides the history of the famous Florentine fashion house. This ultramodern museum, founded in 2011 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the brand, contains a permanent exhibition of the iconic pieces of Gucci, such as clothes, bags, accessories, suitcases. It also hosts other fashion exhibitions during the year as well as contemporary art installations.
The first date of Roberto Cavalli with the fashion world started when he began painting on T-shirts, the huge popularity of which made Roberto Cavalli set up a factory to do the printing. His original style includes strong colours and vibrant prints, such as animal prints and extensive embroidery. In fact, he is known for exotic prints and for creating the sand-blasted look for jeans. The high-end Italian fashion house company of Roberto Cavalli is universally known also for the fragrances and perfumes created, such as Roberto Cavalli Parfum, introduced in 2002. Designing for both men and women, he is the chosen designer for many great celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Lenny Kravitz and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Marchese Emilio Pucci di Barsento, an Italian aristocrat and Italian Air Force pilot by profession was born in Naples to one of Florence’s oldest noble families. He became one of the biggest sportswear designers completely by chance after being inspired by ski slopes. Pucci was first noticed by Fashion photographer Toni Frissel, who photographed him wearing one of his own designs on a ski slope. Inspired by the Renaissance feel, he is known for his rich colours, original patterns and well-fitting pants and dresses. He is especially noted for his stretch fabrics and his carry-it-in-your-handbag jersey dress. He designed beach wear, formal wear, play suits and airline uniforms, revolutionising the look of the fifties and sixties.
Considered one of the modern founders of the Italian fashion industry, Roberto Capucci, with his eclectic style mixed with colors and different materials, was more than just a fashion designer, he was an artist. Capucci opened his first couture studio in Rome, but his first great success occurred in Florence where he held his debut fashion show in 1951 in Pitti Palace. You can find his masterpieces at Capucci Museum, located on the fourth floor of Villa Bardini. It offers a selection of the designer’s work and many sketches. Florence is also home to the Roberto Capucci Foundation which is aimed at preserving and promoting Capucci and his work, encouraging new ideas of style, design and quality craftsmanship in the fashion world.