Italy is immensely important in the history of fashion. The broad lineage of Italian brands, designers, fashion houses and high-end labels have contributed to the shape of the style. Even in the 21st century, Italian manufacturing continued to be revered as the best quality in the world, with family-owned businesses producing garments for high-end clothing brands. Fashion runs in Italian blood. In the competitive world of fashion, Italy is at the forefront, being the birthplace of all the famous and sought-after brands and designers of today. Italian manufacturing and craftsmanship are revered as the highest quality in the fashion industry.
The sheer scope of Italian fashion combined with the mythology surrounding has created a world that often feels impossible to grasp from the outside. Perhaps you know the names or maybe you’re familiar with iconic designs but not their stories but don’t know where they fit in the bigger picture. There are dozens of elements to your style of dress that lead back to the Italian fashion houses. Italian designers, brands, and fashion houses put Italy at the top of the fashion map. It makes it impossible to not be enamored with the elegance and class of the Italian style. Here’s a guide to the essential Italian designer brands. In this day and age, you would have to be living under a rock if you do not know a thing or two about the top Italian brands.
· The house of Versace can be described as brash and audacious. Founded in 1978 by Gianni Versace, the Italian brand encapsulates luxury. This is a brand that looks expensive, feels expensive, and is expensive. Versace is known for using bright colors, bold patterns, and vibrant graphics. Even the use of Medusa in the brand’s logo draws on the Greek mythological character and her ability to consume whoever looked at her. After Gianni Versace’s murder in 1997, Donatella Versace took over as a creative director and has come to embody everything about the brand with her larger-than-life style. The brand has continued to thrive in recent years and has become one of the most mentioned luxury clothing brands. It’s also worth noting that Versace is one of the very few high-end brands that remain majority-owned by its founding family.
· Founded by Franco Moschino in 1983, the Italian brand Moschino has been one of the biggest influences on contemporary fashion. The brand embraced popular culture and everyday iconography. Pop art, cultural ephemera, corporate branding, comic books, and cuddly toys were sources of inspiration for the Moschino brand. A strange connection between high-fashion Italian brands and street-level culture has granted Moschino an enduring essence of authenticity. In 2013, designer Jeremy Scott took over as the brand’s creative director, bringing his next-level take on contemporary culture to a revered Italian fashion house.
· Founded in 1921, Gucci is one of the oldest Italian clothing brands. Guccio Gucci founded his luggage label after being inspired by the luxury lifestyles of people he met in the Paris and London hotel trade. Combining this aesthetic with the skilled local craftsmanship of Tuscany, the company became popular with the Italian gentry and international shoppers. The equestrian community has inspired the label’s distinctive metal “horse bit” logo. The blend of quintessential luxury and Italian flare made it a mainstay of Hollywood fashion. With Alessandro Michele at the brand’s creative helm, Gucci has reinvented its identity, embracing its popularity among youth and celebrating eccentricity. With its iconic green and red stripes, G monogram and whimsical air, there’s something about Gucci that gives everything a touch more class.
· The Giorgio Armani immediately conjures images of razor-sharp black suits, slick leather goods, and the tasteful extravagance that only Italian clothing brands can create. Armani started his empire in 1975, rooting his design vision in common people and the style of the streets. It became popular with fashion fans of all demographics and now the brand has a roster of diffusion labels including Emporio Armani, Armani Exchange, EA7, and Armani Jeans. The Armani is privately owned. Then Armani is an exercise in Italian class, toned-down, softly spoken, effortlessly cool, but making all the necessary statements.
· Prada has roots in luxury leather luggage goods. Founded in 1913 by Mario Prada, the house experienced meteoric success, and in 1919 became an official supplier to the Italian royal household. It was signified by the iconic knotted rope that frames the label’s logo. In the ’70s Mario Prada’s granddaughter Miuccia inherited the label, injecting new energy and a modern perspective into the brand. Over the next four decades, Prada became a symbol of timeless, effortless chic, embodied by understated branding and minimalist designs. One of the label’s signature motifs is its use of Saffiano leather, a textured leather printed with a cross-hatch pattern that is hard-wearing and visually appealing. As for clothing designs, Prada has created collections that ooze with color, patterns, and flashy designs.
· The brand was acquired by its South Korean subsidiary in 2007, yet FILA is one of the oldest and largest Italian sportswear brands, with a rich history. For the first few decades, the brand made mountaineering equipment. In the ’70s it ventured into the world of tennis and found comfort in the sportswear industry. Although the brand might have fallen out of favor with the street-wear crowd, FILA’s name in the late ’80s and early ’90s was synonymous with wealth. Capitalizing on its Italian roots and luxury sportswear, FILA was one of the first companies to bring high-fashion prices to street-level fashion, and this formula made it a popular choice among rappers and dealers. It is a subsequent journey from the upper echelons to an affordable alternative that is fascinating.
· Founded in 1976 by Renzo Rosso and Adriano Goldschmied, Diesel is a premium Italian brand specialized in Italian-made denim. The brand has built a reputation through its absurd and esoteric advertising campaigns. Diesel makes menswear and womenswear with stylistic twists. Classic wardrobe essentials are reinvented with an eccentric perspective and a heavy emphasis on individuality.
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· One of the most under-celebrated figures in contemporary menswear design, Osti’s creative process is unparalleled and his approach to fabric has been described as less tailoring. Unique textile blends, pioneering experimentations in production and left-field thinking have seen Stone Island and C.P. Company produces some of the fascinating clothing including jackets that change color as per the temperature, self-healing fabrics, and cotton fabric bonded to stainless steel. C.P. was launched in 1978. It was followed by Stone Island in 1982. Both pushed the envelope in terms of fashion, and functionality. The era’s football casuals were fond of Stone Island’s stunning designed, hyper-technical gear. Recent years have seen Stone Island expand into the US and claim its hard-earned streetwear kudos through collaborations with Supreme and Nike. Stone Island and C.P. Company’s significance cannot be overstated.
· The origin of Fendi can be traced back to 1925. Husband-wife duo Edoardo and Adele Fendi founded the label as a fur and leather goods shop in Rome. In the ’40s, the next generation of the Fendi family, five sisters Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla, and Alda took over the brand with a youthful perspective. In the ’60s, Karl Lagerfeld joined the label. He reinvented, experimented and redefined furs that had fallen out of favor with the brand’s wealthy clientele and bringing a contemporary perspective to the brand. By the ’90s, family members began to put a strain on the label, and the brand was sold to LVMH. The brand is a classic identity of Italian style.
· The duo of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana used to work separately until it was suggested that they design together under one name. It was a union that was meant to be because despite only being established in 1985, the brand has progressed to be compared to Valentino and Versace which have been around slightly longer than the duo. Dolce & Gabbana encapsulates the beauty of Bel Paese and the exaggeration of the Italian opulence in its designs. The brand is also influenced by Italian cinema and old-timey glamour of the country.