Fashion Reverie looks back at Mariuccia Mandelli, founder of the Italian ready-to-wear brand Krizia. Mariuccia Mandelli is credited for inventing hot pants died at the age of 90 on December 7 at her home.
A former schoolteacher and self-taught designer, Mariuccia Mandelli founded Krizia in the mid-1950s and according to Newsweek “reigned for decades as the godmother of Milanese fashion.” Krizia was one of the first Italian ready-to-wear houses and at its peak in the mid-1990s its revenue topped over $500 million a year.
Krizia’s design aesthetic included structured sculptured shoulders, pleating, looser fits, and unconventional materials like rubber, eel skin, metallics, cork, and snakeskin. In 1971, Krizia revealed some short shorts on the island of Capri and the shorts were dubbed “hot pants,” initiating the hot pant craze of the early 70s.
Mariuccia Mandelli started her fashion empire in the early 50s selling her designs out of the trunk of back of her Fiat 500. The brand had its first breakthrough in 1964 when its black and white collection won an Italian Fashion Critics award. By the 90s, Krizia had become a global fashion brand with a particularly strong presence in Japan. In 2014 the brand was sold to Chinese designer and entrepreneur Zhu Shenzhen for $35 million due to declining retail sales and the declining health of Mandelli and her husband Aldo Pinto, the company chairman.
“She was a leading figure in the fashion world and in “Made-in-Italy” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said. “Creativity and the celebration of colour alongside a very Milanese sobriety – that was the mark of Krizia.”