24 Sep “MADE IN ITALY”: THE LONGSTANDING TRADITION OF LUXURY AND ELEGANCE IN MILAN.
Rooted in centuries of renowned quality, style and impeccable craftsmanship, the beautiful city of Milan is revered as one of the major fashion capitals in the world. Italy as a whole was fashionably reputable but Florence in particular with its “Alta Moda” known in Paris as “haute couture” was the fashion capital in the 50’s and 60’s. The Italians distinguished themselves in the simplicity of their elegance and the articulate attention paid to every aspect of their workmanship from fabrics to design to tailoring and accessorizing details. Fashion is a big part of Italian culture as well as art, music, architecture and food. Eras and epochs have always set the precedent for how popular a trend becomes and so the happenings in the country naturally caused focus to shift from Florence to Rome until political and social events transferred focus on the already economically established city of Milan where it has remained and flourished for three decades and counting.
Moschino in ’93
Milan was particularly favored because the city excelled at producing fashionable items of quality at affordable rates, an essential prerequisite in the 70s. Italy was recovering from perilous times and the dredges of war, the economy was struggling, fashion was at an impasse and fabrics like silk were substituted for rayon. However, Italian ingenuity stepped in and fashion the “Made In Italy” prestige was born and fashion became a national identity. After the political unrest that rocked Europe, other socio-cultural trends arose like women wearing trousers and workers dressed in uniform, making fashion mainstream. Thus, luxury fashion gave way to the assembly lines. Milan at the time was steeped in industrial production and qualitative output and sufficiently merged accessibility, affordability and style. Soon, Milan became the home of prêt-a-porter (ready to wear) clothing and the finest manufacturers in the world.
Gianfranco Ferre 1989
“There is a signature to Italian fashion that goes beyond a “Made in Italy” label. There is know-how and a level of understanding. That’s why so many fashion prototypes are still made in Italy. Italians are industrially nimble. They’re intuitive and good at finding solutions. Say a designer says, “I want to put a ton of Swarovski crystals on a see-though shirt.” In the United States, manufacturers would just say, “What?” In Italy, they would never say, “No, this is crazy!” There is a maybe. There is never a no”.- Stefano Tonchi, Editor of W Magazine.
A Romeo Gigli ensemble
Consequently, Milan is the birthplace of several fashion icons such as Gianni Versace, Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce of Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Gianfranco Ferre, Franco Moschino, among others all of whom honed their craft in Milan and upheld the prestigious heritage of iconic style and unparalleled ingenuity till date. Photographers, designers, graphic artists who have contributed significantly to the progress of fashion are also included as having been greatly influenced by the Milanese culture. These forerunners have set the pace of unconventional and timeless quality in every facet of fashion, a great part of the glamour and splendor that is associated with it.
The fashion industry today has had its twists and turns. Each year, a novelty surfaces but the style endures and for Milan, the style is simplicity and elegance. Milan Fashion Week as it ended today saw in its six-day duration, an eclectic mix of the urban edginess and nostalgic beauty, an advancement and yet, a preservation. Other themes may have given way to modernization but fashion has remained a projector, a voice and a medium. The legacy stands even truer, a shining beacon into the glorious past and a pathway to an even better future for the world of fashion.
Photo Credits: The New York Times, Vogue.