Roberto Cavalli has long been held as Milan’s most reliable source of high fashion escapades. The Florentine designer has recently been seen to be feuding with Flavio Briatore, a former football chairman, who accused Cavalli of “freezing his brain with Botox,” but none of this could take away from his brilliance in the art of fashion design.
Cavalli’s collection at the Milan fashion show in September was not only entertaining to witness; it was also a triumph of design. His Hollywood-themed show featured stunning gowns and tops made from his trademark python-print chiffon, some complete with silver-tipped tassels and most sporting a delicate flapper feel. There were also panelled jeans and croc-skin biker jackets which literally wowed the audience.
The show quite literally told us all that despite the fact that he is now over 70 years old, he still most definitely has his finger on the pulse of what today’s fashionista wants and yearns for.
Milan in the Lombardy region is eponymous the world over as the style icon of Italy, (if not the world.) Milan holds a fashion show twice yearly, usually in February/March and September/October. The clothes and the show have people flocking from all over the world to see what Milan is going to offer the stylishly dressed for the coming season.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Milan fashion week was first established in 1958 and is owned by Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (The National Chamber for Italian Fashion). The show held earlier this year which dictated what we would be wearing this autumn, started on 20th January with Paola Frani. Shows by some of the major fashion houses such as Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Gucci quickly followed.
If you are staying in the Lombardy region during these slightly out of season months, why not try to get tickets to the next fashion show? Simply wear an oversize handbag slung over your shoulder, some sunglasses and you too could be mingling with the fashion icons of this beautiful region of Italy.
We are all aware that Milan is probably the most stylish city in the world and here is where you would find the headquarters of the world-renowned fashion house, Missoni. Missoni was founded by Ottavio, (“Tai”) and Rosita Missoni in 1953 in Gallarate, Lombardy. The company now has branches in 20 countries in the world and is probably best known for its knitwear. Tai unfortunately passed away earlier this year, aged 92, but his legacy will live on.
Tai and Rosita Missoni wearing their iconic designs
Missoni is most famous for its iconic knitwear designs. The knitwear is know World-wide for coming in a range of patterns and in particular, stripes, geometrics and abstract florals, all available in a rainbow of colours. Margherita Missoni, Tai and Rosita’s granddaughter, has become the best ambassador for the brand, which to this day remains a family business.
As autumn is already upon us and we will quickly be heading into winter, many women will be grateful for the fact that they can still look stylish in Missoni, while keeping out the cold!
Although we all recognise the huge influence Italy has on today’s fashion, it has only been in recent history that this has become so. Following the Second World War, Italy, like many other countries had seen a substantial amount of bomb damage and was desperate to get some money into the country. Traditional artisan crafted items were beginning to become fashionable again, and had the Americans sitting up and taking notice.
Italian Fashion is now recognised all over the world
Following on from that, the first Italian fashion show to herald the work of multiple fashion designers was held in Florence in 1951, and further fashion shows in Florence and Rome began to solidify a sense of style within Italy. Possibly one of the iconic fashion items of the time was the Capri pant, and even Marilyn Monroe and the ever-stylish Audrey Hepburn were frequently spotted wearing it.
The wearing of Capri pants by such huge stars swiftly had Italy up there in the world fashion stakes. Today, the likes of Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Prada are bywords the world over for glamorous style which oozes Dolce Vita!
If you told a friend their outfit looked very Italian, they would probably be flattered. Italy is synonymous with a sense of style, from iconic Vespa scooters to the oversized sunglasses made popular by Sophia Loren and copied by, well …everybody! But with the world-renowned Milanese fashion industry and leading designers, such as Versace, Armani and Prada on Italy’s honour roll, it’s hardly surprising that everybody wants to know how to dress like an Italian.
It’s easy if you’re young, with skinny jeans as an essential element and a range of simple cotton T-shirts or loose shirts. If you are a little older, then dignified but sexy is the way to go, with figure-skimming skirts that stop just above the knee, or classic trouser suits, with a cool, loose blouse in a light fabric. The trick is to accessorize properly, with accent jewellery, eye-catching wide belts and, naturally, oversized sunglasses even if it isn’t sunny!
Young Italian men often dress like the young women, in skinny jeans, crisp, white T-shirts and American-style baseball boots, but the older guys really know how to turn a head. With their own word for it, ‘sprezzatura’, or ‘a certain nonchalance’, Italian men want to look as though they haven’t had to try, so they wear roomy suits or drainpipe trousers with equal aplomb. The only rule for men is to look as though you just threw something on. Of course, it helps if you have perfect, olive skin!
If you have ever been to Italy before, especially to any of the main churches such as Duomos and Cathedrals, you would have noticed signs warning tourists of inappropriate attire. This seems like a little detail, but it’s actually nothing to laugh at! It certainly won’t seem funny if you are not able to access St Peter’s in Rome and, believe us, those are some strict guards.
When visiting churches and other religious buildings and sites, we strongly recommend dressing modestly: covered shoulders and knees are a must, and you won’t be able to get in anywhere unless you are wearing shoes (although sandals are fine!). So how do you put up with the summer heat in Rome and still get to see the beautiful frescoes in the Sistine Chapel?
For ladies, a dress or skirt below the knee would be perfectly fine, as are Capri shorts (below the knee). If you prefer a shorter skirt or shorts, pack a pair of tights or leggings in your bag and change just before entering the site. Wear a top with a short sleeve that covers your shoulders and doesn’t reveal too much cleavage or midriff. Another useful thing to have in your bag is a silk scarf to cover yourself should you be wearing a more revealing top!
For gents, the best option is lightweight trousers made of natural fabrics such as linen. Some people also swear by convertible zipper trousers, although these can be a little bit more cumbersome. No vests are allowed for either ladies or gents so avoid them! Any t-shirt or shirt with a short sleeve will do.
We know that planning your clothes for sightseeing is not exactly a thrill, but when visiting religious sites, remember that you are entering a place of worship and that you should be respectful. Modesty is practised in all churches in Italy (you would be surprised at how insistent they can be in even the tiniest Tuscany church!) and you should also follow it if you want to look at the wonders that all these churches hide. And for the treasures that you will find, wonders that will stay in your memory forever, it’s definitely worth it!