Fashion Flashback: Katoucha

 

Image courtesy of tumblr.com

Image courtesy of tumblr.com

As couture week takes off in Paris this weekend, Fashion Reverie looks back at one of the most recognizable models that defined French couture style in the 1980s and early 90s, Katoucha Niane. Remembered as Yves Saint Laurent’s muse in the 1980’s and as the African model who set the stage for such models as Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek, Jourdan Dunn, and Naomi Smalls, Katoucha’s—the single moniker she became known for in the 80s—auspicious fashion career didn’t start out the traditional route of runway models.

Born into an influential Guinean family—her father was the playwright/author/poet Djibril Tamsir Niane—Katoucha’s family was forced into exile after her father came into conflict with Guinean president Sekou Toure. After marrying at the early age of 17 and giving birth to her first child, Katouche with her family moved to France and began modeling for Lanvin, Thierry Mugler, Paco Rabanne, Christian Lacroix and later Yves Saint Laurent with whom she formed a special, lasting relationship.

Fashion_Flashback_Katoucha_NianeKatoucha rise to fame in the fashion industry, particularly the world of haute couture came on the heels of French couturiers being mesmerized by African American models witnessed en masse in the now famous “Divertissement de Versailles” in 1973. Some years later Hubert de Givenchy hired a contingent of African American models to showcase in collection in Paris and Martinique-born Mounia became a special muse to Yves Saint Laurent.

Katoucha reign as the “ebony princess” for Yves Saint Laurent came after paying her dues first working as a fit model at Lanvin and later gaining attention with her wide shoulders that narrowed down to a slender waist in Mugler’s early 80s power suits. Katoucha also became a particular favorite in the couture shows of Gian Franco Ferre, Chloe, Chanel, Givenchy, and Dior.  And Japanese audiences declared the queen of their catwalks in the 80s and early 90s.

 

After retiring from modeling full time in 1994, Katoucha dedicated her time to setting up a charity, Katoucha Pour la Lutte Contre l’Excision that campaigned against female genital circumcision. Later, in 1995 she launched her own fashion label, Katoucha. Of her failed fashion label, Katoucha said, “I’ve got long fingers to grab money and big gaps between them to let it fall through.”

After many years struggling with drugs and alcohol abuse, in 2007 Katoucha released her tall-all autobiography, and that same year Katoucha starred in Senegalese writer Abbas Ndione film adapted “Ramata.” The director, Leandre-Alain Baker, said: “She could go right from laughter to anger. But she always came back, and I attribute that to her past, what she … lived through.”

Collages747Tragically, Katoucha Niane was found dead in the Seine in 2008. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning after she fell off of her houseboat into the Seine River.

—Staff

Fashion Flashback Tribute: Prince

"Purple Rain" tour images

“Purple Rain” tour images

As the world mourns the untimely death of one of the greatest musicians and fashion icons of the 20th and 21st centuries, Fashion Reverie takes a retrospective look at the fashion stylings of the peripatetic and ever-evolving Prince. No other musical and fashion icon has had the global impact over the past four decades than Prince Rogers Nelson.

Images from 1991 "Diamonds and Pearls" tour

Images from 1991 “Diamonds and Pearls” tour

When it comes to finding that delicate balance between feminine and masculine silhouettes with a dose of avant-garde and a nod to vintage and the baroque, no musical has defined this mix of fashion eclecticism better than Prince. With Prince, sexy surprise is the norm. And his norm is way ahead of the fashion curve.

That said; with almost four decades in the music industry, no musical artist has made the impact Prince has made, musically or creatively. He is irreverent, rebellious, sensual, fashion forward, unpredictable, sublime, and yes, divine. In other words, Prince is in a class all of his own!!

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Recent images of Prince at the Academy Awards, Grammy’s , and NAACP Image Awards

Since his musical debut in the late 70s, Prince has consistently defied the standard perception of how a male musical artist is supposed to dress on and off stage. From wearing black bikini thongs with thigh-high leg warmers and heeled boots to a pompadour coif with ruffled shirts and heavily embroidered jacquard baroque–inspired jackets to his final incarnation paying homage to Black Power in a big Afro, Prince’s fashion predilection was not only fashion forward and gender bending, but also political.

Fashion_Flashback_PrinceWhat could be more political than redefining masculinity and masculine silhouettes. Yet, Prince’s political leanings went way beyond juxtaposing feminine styles against masculine silhouettes. When Prince was not able to access his master tapes in the mid-1990s he started writing ‘slave’ on his face and used he moniker the ‘Artist Formerly Known as Prince.’ His nod to black empowerment was made evident in donning a big Afro paired with Nehru-type jackets and love beads.

Images from 1981 "Controversy" tour

Images from 1981 “Controversy” tour

Prince never tried to separate politics from life. And the real-time politics of everyday life was infused into his music, as well as his fashion choices. Think the lyrics in “Controversy,” “Annie Christian,” and “Ronnie Talk to Russia,” all from Prince’s 1981 “Controversy” album. There is also “Money Don’t Matter 2 Night” and “Race” from Prince’s “Diamonds and Pearls” album. Last, but not least, there is the “Emancipation” album that was heavily inspired by Prince’s battle with Warner Bros. over master tapes. This album produced the politically charged “Face Down,” “2045: Radical Man.”

Images for "Under the Cherry Moon"

Images for “Under the Cherry Moon”

Still, at times his political statements didn’t match his religious views. Some social pundits note that Prince may have been a conservative Christian that didn’t support gay marriage and his spiritual journeys which swayed from Seventh Day Adventist to Jehovah Witness were crazy quilt and uneven, at best. Perhaps, like all deep thinkers, Prince was continually searching for his truth. And his search for the Divine evolved just like his music and personal style.

Collages655That said; what cannot be denied is his style. No other pop artist celebrated bold color, and in particular the hues of purple like Prince. From sequined purple jackets, to metallic purple trench coats to tight purple, hip hugging slacks to purple heels, Prince was the ‘Emperor of Purple.’

We will never, ever forget you dear Prince. May your music and fashion style live for generations to come. Long live the Prince!!

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Flashback: Pauline Trigere

 

Image courtesy of Francesco Scavullo

Image courtesy of Francesco Scavullo

Fashion Reverie looks back at the life of iconic French-American designer Pauline Trigere. Pauline Trigere epitomized chic, elegant American glamour and was one of the first designers to be associated with American sophistication and elegance.

Pauline Trigere was born in the Pigalle section of Paris to Russian-Jewish parents. Her mother was a dressmaker and her father was a tailor. She learned to sew as a young, but never considered fashion design as a career until she and her husband Lazar Radley, also a Russian tailor, left Paris in the late thirties because of the rise of Nazism.

After settling in New York City, Trigere’s husband opened a small tailoring business with Pauline’s brother Robert with Pauline working for Ben Gershal and Hattie Carnegie.  In 1942, Lazar Radley suddenly walked out on Pauline and her two small children, leaving Pauline to be the sole provider. In just one year after her husband departure, Pauline Trigere had developed a collection with 12 styles and in just three years she had become a well-known name in American fashion selling to Filene’s Basement, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales.

Image courtesy of nytimes.com

Image courtesy of nytimes.com

In 1952, Trigere received the first of three Coty Awards. And Trigere is credited as being one of the first American designers to use black models. Most film buffs will recognized her clothes worn by Patricia Neal in “Breakfast at Tiffanys.”

Trigere had one of the longest careers in American fashion, spanning almost six decades. In 1992 she was honored for fifty years in the industry by Fashion Institute of Technology. And in 1993 Trigere received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the CFDA.

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Images courtesy of FGI.com, vogue.com, and pinterest.com, respectively

Unlike many designers of her era, Trigere did not sketch, but draped material on body forms. She once said ”Fashion is what people tell you to wear,” she often said. ”Style is what comes from your own inner thing.”

Trigere’s gaments have been worn by such women as Mrs. John Hay Whitney, Beverly Sills, Evelyn Lauder, Rita Gam, and Dina Merrill, and more recently Sarah Jessica Parker. In recent years, vintage aficionados seek out many of Trigere’s iconic designs.

 

Images courtesy of

Images courtesy of etsy.com and patternvault.com, respectively

Pauline Trigere passed away in 2002.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Flashback: David Bowie

Collages520Fashion Reverie looks back at British pop icon David Bowie after his untimely death on January 10. No other pop icon whose career spanned five decades has had such a pivotal effect on different music genres from Glam Rock and rock n’ roll to pop music, dance music, and new wave music than David Bowie. Bowie was also an arbiter of fashion and style and pushed the envelope on what is now defined as gender neutrality, causing the music industry and society at large to re-examine notions of masculinity and redefine masculine silhouettes in fashion.

Before Sylvester, Grace Jones, Michael Jackson, Adam Ant, Madonna, Boy George, Adam Lambert, and Lady Gaga, there was David Bowie. From his Glam Rock stage persona ‘Ziggy Stardust’ to Bowie’s embrace of a super thin silhouette to his inclusion of Versace monochromatic pastel suits in the late 1970s and early 80s, Bowie has consistently been of the cutting edge of fashion and style.

Collages519Born David Jones in Brixton, south London, Bowie’s early musical influences were Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. Bowie musical acuity became evident while learning to play the recorder. Later he moved on to the saxophone, performing in teen rock n’ roll and skittle bands.

In the mid-60s David Jones changed his name to David Bowie so that he would not be confused with Davy Jones of Monkees’ fame. Singles and most of his albums in this period failed to chart well. Not until Bowie met his future wife Angie Barnett in 1969—who heavily influenced his introduction to the bohemian musical movement in the UK—and he delved into psychedelic rock buttressed by his on-stage androgyny, did his musical career start to get some traction.

Fashion_Flashback_David_BowieAll these influences culminated in his stage creation, ‘Ziggy Stardust.’ Ziggy Stardust was a combination of Lou Reed and Iggy Pop mixed in with Bowie’s unique take on androgyny and fashion. With Ziggy’s shock of red hair, glitter bodysuits and emaciated svelteness, Bowie ushered in a new era of pop music melded with an unusual blend of glam fashion, gender bending sentimentality, and sexual freedom. All this culminated in a cult symbol status that boosted album sales and sellout live performances.

 

Images courtesy of vogue.fr and nytimes.com, respectively

Images courtesy of vogue.fr and nytimes.com, respectively

By the late 70s, Bowie replaced Ziggy’s androgynous leanings with blond slicked back hair and pastel monochrome Armani suits and his musical stylings had fused R&B with dance music and early Punk influences. Though his physique remained dangerously thin, Bowie proved that there could be a masculine beauty in a slim silhouette, particularly when immaculately dressed.

Throughout the 80s and the 90s, Bowie continued to shift shape in musical taste, as well as fashion style. However, by the early 80s, many performance artists like Adam Ant, Boy George, Billy Idol, Prince, and even Michael Jackson were able to take advantage of grounds Bowie had made in melding masculine and feminine performance styles and skills to woe audiences.

From left: Jacques Brinon/Associated Press, Valerio Mezzanotti/Nowfashion, Francois Guillot/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

From left: Jean-Paul Gaultier spring 2013: Jacques Brinon/Associated Press, Haider Ackermann spring 2016: Valerio Mezzanotti/Nowfashion, Dries Van Noten men’s fall 2011: Francois Guillot/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images/nytimes.com

In 2003 David Bowie fronted a campaign for Louis Vuitton. And in the last few years designers have been inspired by Bowie’s style and Bowie references have popped in the both men’s and women’s wear collection of Dries Van Noten, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Haider Ackermann.

“When I go out onto a stage, I try to make the performance as good and as interesting as possible, and I don’t just mean singing my songs and moving off. I think if you’re really going to entertain an audience then you have to look the part, too,” Bowie told Cameron Crowe in a 1976 Playboy article.

And entertain and mesmerize, he did!!

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Flashback: Mariuccia Marinelli

Image courtesy of zimbio

Image courtesy of zimbio

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 fall 2011 images courtesy of fashionwindows.net

Krizia fall 2011 images courtesy of fashionwindows.net

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.

Krizia spring 2012 image courtesy of wgsn.com

Krizia spring 2012 image courtesy of wgsn.com

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.

Krizia spring 2015 by

Krizia spring 2015 by Zhu Shenzhen

“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.”

—Staff

 

 

 

Fashion Flashback: Adrian

Collages473Fashion Reverie looks back at the Hollywood’s famed fashion designer and costumer Adrian. Among the many fashion designers that costumed some of Hollywood’s leading ladies of the 1930s and 1940s, Adrian Adolf Greenberg, professionally known as Adrian, was, perhaps, the most esteemed. He was best known for his costumes designs in such classic films as the Wizard of Oz, Letty Leyton, The Women, Anna Karenina, Marie Antoinette, Grand Hotel, Pride and Prejudice, The Philadelphia Story, and Woman of the Year.

Adrian's costume designs from "The Women" and "Letty

Adrian’s costume designs from “The Women” and “Letty Leyton”

After studying fashion design at the New York School of Design and Fine Art (now known as Parsons School of Design), Adrian got his first design job for Irving Berlin’s The Music Box Revue. Later, Adrian design costumes for George White’s Scandals on Broadway.

One of his first assignments in Hollywood was designing costumes in 1924 for Natacha Rambova’s, Rudolf Valentino’s wife, film A Sainted Devil. In 1928, Adrian was hired to design costumes for MGM. And according to Margaret Bailey in Those Glorious Glamour Years “… Adrian was not afraid to test surprising new styles or have a bit of fun with a design. He maintained it would either be fashionable by the time the movie was reviewed or be so unusual that it was exempt from fashion.”

Collages471Many of the costumes designs by Adrian were repurposed and adapted for retail and sold in New York City department stores. As detailed in vintagefashionguild.org, Adrian’s work for Greta Garbo starting with A Woman of Affairs was noticed by Seventh Ave., and featured in Women’s Wear Daily. Garbo’s slouch hat and trench coat were sold cross country, as well as her little pill box hats from As You Desire Me and her “Eugenie” hat from Romance. His work for Joan Crawford was copied extensively as well, especially her organdy dress from Letty Lynton. His costume sketches were often published in Vogue. Adrian left MGM in 1942, and returned only once, 10 years later for Lovely to Look At in 1952.

Images courtesy of vintagefashionguild.org

Images courtesy of vintagefashionguild.org

In 1942, Adrian opened his own boutique, Adrian, Ltd in Beverly Hills with his designs appearing in Bonwit Teller, Garfinckle’s, Marshall Fields, and Stanley Marcus. “During the decade of Adrian Ltd., particularly during the war years, he was one of the American designers capable of making an individual statement. His influence was felt in every showroom and store in the country; his trim jackets and slinky crepe dresses were reproduced in every price bracket. To judge by his imitators, he was the most influential designer in their copybooks. For them he took the place of Paris”, posits Robert Riles in American Fashion.

A serious heart attack forced the prolific designer to retire to Brazil and after a brief return to design costumes for Broadway, Adrian died of a massive heart attack in 1959.

—Staff

 

 

 

Fashion Flashback: Bonwit Teller

Downloads171As we move into the holiday season, Fashion Reverie looks back at Bonwit Teller, one of the largest department stores that specialized in high-end women’s clothing. In its heyday, Bonwit Teller had stores in Palm Beach, Miami Beach, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, White Plains, Syracuse, Buffalo, Manhasset, Kansas City, Philadelphia (three stores), Palm Desert, Beverly Hills, Short Hills, New Jersey, and Columbia, South Carolina.

Bonwit Teller exterior ca 1939 image courtesy of mcny.com

Bonwit Teller exterior ca 1939 image courtesy of mcny.com

Founded in 1895 by Paul Bonwit, Bonwit bought out his former business partner and opened up a new store in 1898 on 23rd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues with Edmund D. Teller. Later the store was relocated to Fifth Avenue and 38th Street and became known for the high quality of its merchandise and the above-average salaries paid to its executives and buyers.

Throughout most of the 20th Century, Bonwit Teller was a part of a group of upscale department stores on Fifth Avenue that catered to was originally known as “the carriage trade.” Among its New York City peers were Saks Fifth Avenue, B. Altman & Company, and Peck & Peck.

Images of Bonwit window displays by Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali. Images courtesy of flickr.com and tumblr.com, respectively

Images of Bonwit window displays by Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali. Images courtesy of flickr.com and tumblr.com, respectively

From the 1930s onward, Bonwit Teller was acquired several times by different acquisition companies. The Hoving Corporation was the most significant acquisition company and helped establish Bonwit Teller as one of the go-to, high-end stores on Fifth Avenue. Under this acquisition, Bonwit Teller experienced its most significant growth. It’s historic location of Fifth Avenue—originally built by the Stewart Company for a high-end retail store—was bought by Donald Trump and demolished in 1980. Trump Towers now sits on the historic Bonwit Teller flagship store location.

After the demolition of its historic flagship store, Bonwit Teller relocated around the corner to Fifth Avenue and 56th Street, attached to Trump Tower’s indoor mall. The Hooker Corporation, an Australian company that purchased the stores for $101 million dollars in 1987, would place the Bonwit Teller stores in bankruptcy proceedings in 1989.

Bonwit Teller Holday ad image courtesy of vintageadbrowser.com

Bonwit Teller Holday ad image courtesy of vintageadbrowser.com

Though many corporations tried to bring Bonwit Teller back in the 90s, even as recently as 2007, the recession of 2008 prevented the projected return of Bonwit Teller from happening. Still, Bonwit Teller represents Americas’ golden age of upscale luxury stores in the 1940s and 1950s, evidenced in its place in popular culture in such films as “Rocky II” and “Oliver’s Story.”

—Staff

Fashion Flashback: Arnold Scaasi

 

Image courtesy of starbuzz.com

Image courtesy of starbuzz.com

Fashion Reverie looks back at the career of Arnold Scassi. Arnold Scassi passed away on Tuesday from cardiac arrest at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. His French couture-like sometimes heavily embellished creations adorned the likes of Barbra Streisand, Joan Rivers, Elizabeth Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Lauren Bacall, Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, and Mamie Eisenhower.

Images courtesy of tumblr.com

Images courtesy of tumblr.com

Telling the Associated Press during an exhibit of his collections at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, “Fashion, it’s really about feeling good … it should be fun to get dressed. I like exciting and pretty clothes that help women feel exciting and pretty.’’

For over 50 years Scassi—his last name Issac spelled backwards—made a lot of women feel good; particularly, his celebrity and socialite client base. After training in Montreal and Paris, Scaasi worked briefly for famed American evening wear designer Charles James before launching his own ready-to-wear business in 1956.

Image courtesy of shopify.com

Image courtesy of shopify.com

Because Scaasi never designed for the ready-to-wear mass market, he was less of a household name than some of his contemporaries. Though he did sell in high-end, ready-to-wear department stores, Scaasi is best known for some of his red-carpet creations for major film stars and celebrities. Scassi most famous ensemble was the translucent black lace pantsuit worn by Barbra Streisand at the 1969 Academy Awards.

Collages285In 1996 Scassi was honored by the CFDA with a Lifetime Achievement Award. And in 2004 he published his memoir Women I Have Dressed and (Undressed). In his memoir he described some of the things he designed for Elizabeth Taylor, ‘‘a spectacular white satin ball gown with a rhinestone design of arches over the entire dress . . . a long black velvet cape to go over it—it was fab . . . a coral and turquoise petunia printed silk short dress with a cape coat in turquoise cashmere . . . a beautiful short black chiffon number that was totally covered in tiny leaves and flowers with diamante clusters.’’

Image courtesy of img.com

Image courtesy of img.com

Mr. Scassi is survived by his partner, Parker Ladd. Arnold Scaasi was 85 years old.

—Staff

Fashion Flashback: Kim Kardashian for Bebe, Sarah Jessica Parker for Halston Heritage, and Lindsay Lohan for Ungaro

Kim Kardashian image courtesy of popsugar.com, Sarah Jessica Parker and Lindsay Lohan images courtesy of nymag.com

Kim Kardashian image courtesy of zimbio.com, Sarah Jessica Parker and Lindsay Lohan images courtesy of nymag.com

Fashion Reverie looks back at fashion brands that have unwisely chosen celebrities as their creative and artistic directors and the missteps of some of these appointments. While some of these directorships actually have been fruitful, for the most part, most have been a trip to the land unbountiful.

Though she keeps her name in the press and some of her fashion collaborations have reaped big bucks and name recognition, TV reality star extraordinaire Kim Kardashian’s creative venture with moderately priced retail chain Bebe was a gloried flop. Riding high on her “Keeping up with the Kardashian” reality television fame, Kim Kardashian started her creative venture with Bebe in 2010.

Images courtesy of perezhilton.com

Images courtesy of perezhilton.com

The collection was composed mostly of tight, short, bodycon-like dresses that would only appeal to a limited audience. Bebe’s president Emilia Fabricant said it best, “The sisters do still have relevance, but at Bebe we need to move with fashion and we want to be first in the fashion world with everybody else and not fall behind. We are definitely assessing the situation.”

Kim’s role at Bebe only lasted two collections. Also, her trip to bountiful with Sears the following year wasn’t so bountiful, either. Apparently, Kim doesn’t have the Midas touch all the time.

Kim, Kim, Kim stick with what you do well. Then again, what is that?

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Images courtesy of whatshaute.com and hotelfashionland, respectively

One of the most bizarre matchups and most disastrous was Lindsay Lohan for Ungaro. When the announcement came out that Lindsay Lohan would collaborate with Ungaro’s creative director Estrella Arch for a reported multi-year, multi-million deals, the fashion industry chuckled and scoffed. Their guffaws were well warranted. Lohan sent out sequined pasties among a number of tacky, embellished, “leave your money on the nightstand” garments. WWD called the spring 2010 collection “ an embarrassment.”

Then again, isn’t Lohan herself an embarrassment? Lohan was initially hired to inject a youthful sensibility into the embattled fashion house. All she brought quite frankly was debris. Another celeb bites the dust!!

Sarah Jessica in Heritage Halston at the 2010 Met Costume Gala. Image courtesy of popsugar.com

Sarah Jessica in Heritage Halston at the 2010 Met Costume Gala. Image courtesy of popsugar.com

“Sex and the City” made Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP) a fashion icon. That said; matching SJP up with Halston Heritage as chief creative director didn’t seem as much as a stretch as some of the other celebrity pairings. Though her tenure at Halston Heritage was short and probably ill timed, SJP lasted only a year. The marriage seemed as though it was made in heaven. Apparently, no, SJP revealed two-years after her departure that she was never paid a dime for her work at Halston Heritage.

—Staff

Fashion Flashback: Fiorucci

Image courtesy of adensya.ru

Image courtesy of adensya.ru

On the heels of Elio Fiorucci’s death, Fashion Reverie looks back at the iconic pop fashion brand, Fiorucci. Founded in 1967 by Elio Fiorucci, the Fiorucci stores were the first Italian stores that sold clothes of the Swinging Sixties style and American classic jeans and tee shirt styles in Milan.

By the late 1970s and early 80s, the Fiorucci stores were known for their daytime “Studio 54” style of Italian clothing.  The Italian party clothes attracted the likes of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, the Rolling Stones, and Madonna. Some of these pop artists even formed design collaborations with the Italian fashion brand.

Fiorucci was one of the premiere brands responsible for the globalization of mass-market fashion to ever-expanding affluent fashion market. The brand also helped to popularize leopard skin pants, stretch jeans, and camouflage prints.

Image courtesy of David Bailey/vogue.it

Image courtesy of David Bailey/vogue.it

In its early days, the Fiorucci stores sold such cutting edge British designers as Ossie Clark and Zandra Rhodes; however, by the early 70s Elio Fiorucci has switched his focus toward Brazilian thongs and monokinis, shocking the industry with its provocative add campaigns. The brands heyday was in the mid to late 70s when it opened a store in NYC introducing its trendsetting clothes to the nightlife set of the disco era. Customers in its East 59th Street store might rub shoulders with Cher, Marc Jacobs, Joey Arias, Lauren Bacall, Jackie Onassis, Calvin Klein, and Gloria Vanderbilt.

fiorucci-foto32The brand’s many licensing deals kept the brand relevant throughout the 1980s with licensing deals with Disney, Wrangler Jeans, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Vivienne Westwood. By the late 80s, the brand’s type of marketing and design aesthetic had gone out of vogue with stores closing in the NYC and the rest of the US by end of the 80s.

Fiorucci experienced a revival by in the 1990s when the company was sold to the Japanese jeans company, Edwin Co. with Elio Fiorucci retaining creative control. Though the company never regained its popularity in the US, it was maintained its notoriety in Europe up through the early 2000s.

Elio Fiorucci image courtesy of expo2015.it

Elio Fiorucci image courtesy of expo2015.it

In 2003, the flagship store in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Milan was sold. Elio Fiorucci died on July 20, 2015.

—Staff

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