ITALIAN FASHION RESEARCH//TED BAKER
Italy is one of the leading countries in fashion design, alongside others such as France, USA, Great Britain and Japan. Fashion has always been an important part of the country's cultural life and society, and Italians are well known for their attention of dressing-up well; "la bella figura", or good impression, remains traditional in the Italian way of living!
Italian design became prominent during the 11th-16th centuries, when artistic development in Italy was at its peak. Cities such as Venice, Milan, Florence and Vicenza started to produce luxury goods, hats, cosmetics, jewelry and rich fabrics. During the 17th-early 20th centuries, Italian fashion lost its importance and lustre, and Europe's main trendsetter became France, with the great popularity of French fashion; this is due to the luxury dresses which were designed for the courtiers of Louis XIV. However, since the 1951-53 fashion soirées held by Giovanni Battista Giorgini in Florence, the "Italian school" started to compete with the French haute couture, and labels such as Ferragamo and Gucci began to contend withChanel and Dior. In 2009, according to the Global Language Monitor, Milan, Italy's centre of design, was ranked the topfashion capital of the world, and Rome was ranked 4th, and, despite both cities fell down places in subsequent rankings, in 2011, Florence entered as the 31st world fashion capital. Milan is generally considered to be part of the "big four" global fashion capitals, which, aside from the Italian city, consist of New York City, Paris and London; occasionally, the "big five" also includes Rome.
Examples of major Italian fashion houses are: Gucci, Armani, Emilio Pucci, Valentino, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana,Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, Trussardi, Versace, Krizia, Etro, Miu Miu, Laura Biagiotti, Max Mara, Fendi, Moschino,Missoni, Bottega Veneta, Benetton and Brioni (fashion), to name a few. Italy also is home to many fashion magazines, such as Grazia, Vogue Italia, Amica, Flair, Gioia. Other Italian accessory and jewelry brands, such as Luxottica andBulgari are amongst the most important in the world.
Italian fashion is dominated by Milan, Rome, and to a lesser extent, Florence, with the former two being included in the top 30 fashion capitals of the world. Nonetheless, there are numerous other cities which play an important role in Italian fashion.
In 2009, Milan was regarded as the world fashion capital (based upon frequency of mention in global media outlets), even surpassing New York, Paris, Rome and London . In 2011, Milan was ranked #4, behind London, New York, and Paris. Many of the major Italian fashion brands, such as Valentino, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, are currently headquartered in the city. Numerous international fashion labels also operate shops in Milan, including an Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store which has become a main consumer attraction. Milan also hosts a fashion week twice a year, just like other international centres such as Paris, London, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and Rome. Milan's main upscale fashion district is the "quadrilatero della moda" (literally, "fashion quadrilateral"), where the city's most prestigious shopping streets (Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea, Via Manzoni and Corso Venezia) are held. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Piazza del Duomo, Via Dante and Corso Buenos Aires are other important shopping streets and squares.
Florence is regarded by some as the birthplace and earliest centre of the modern (post World War Two) fashion industry in Italy. The Florentine "soirées" of the early 1950s organized by Giovanni Battista Giorgini were events where several now-famous Italian designers participated in group shows and first garnered international attention. Florence has served as the home of the Italian fashion company Salvatore Ferragamo since 1928. Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, and Emilio Pucci are also headquartered in Florence. Other major players in the fashion industry such as Prada and Chanel have large offices and stores in Florence or its outskirts. Florence's main upscale shopping street is Via de' Tornabuoni, where major luxury fashion houses and jewelry labels, such as Armani and Bulgari, have their elegant boutiques. Via del Parione and Via Roma are other streets that are also well known for their high-end fashion stores.
Rome is widely recognized as a world fashion capital. Although not as important as Milan, Rome is the world's 4th most important centre for fashion in the world, according to the 2009 Global Language Monitor after Milan, New York and Paris, and beating London. Major luxury fashion houses and jewelry chains, such as Valentino, Bulgari, Fendi, Laura Biagiotti and Brioni (fashion), just to name a few, are headquartered or were founded in the city. Also, other major labels, such as Chanel, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana,Armani and Versace have luxury boutiques in Rome, primarily along its prestigious and upscale Via dei Condotti.