After the Renaissance, Italian fashion sunk into oblivion, when between 17th and 18th centuries Louis XIV laid the foundations of French supremacy. At the time, undermined in the 20th century, due to the crisis of 1929, to WWII and to the rise of American ready-to-wear clothing. At this time, Giovanni Battista Giorgini understands that there is fertile ground for Italy, and, on February 12, 1951, he organizes and hosts the first Italian fashion show at his house, in Palazzo Torrigiani, Florence; the first step towards the events at the Palazzo Pitti. Italian garments gain success because they are practical, colourful and affordable compared to the French ones, yet also maintained a high artisanal quality. Thus, boutique fashion became a great hit, albeit not made-to-measure like in France, but still available in different sizes and executed manually, and not industrially, as in the United States.

One of the greatest advocates of boutique fashion was marquis Emilio Pucci (1914 – 1992), a descendant of the ancient Florentine family documented as far back as the 13th century. He fell into the world of fashion by chance: after studying in the USA and becoming an aviator in WWII, in 1947 one of his ski suits worn by a friend was published on “Harper’s Bazaar,” launching his success in American luxury department stores.

Then came the beachwear, sold in his boutique in Capri, and then all other sorts of creations, available at the family palace in Florence, where the workshops were based. A great creative, he had relations with several textile industries that developed new fabrics specifically for him, such as the emilioform, named after him. The distinguishing trait of his creations is colour: he realized hundreds of underwater images, studied the Blue Grotto in Capri, trying to capture the finest pitches of natural hues for his bright yet never conflicting tones. Among his most renowned creations are the Capri pants, the vacation attire of elegant, wealthy women, cropped between knee and calf length, and also the collections dedicated to the colours of Sicily, to the Palio of Siena, to Botticelli, and the Oriental-style dresses. He worked with many high profile clients, such as Marylin Monroe, Greta Garbo, Sofia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida. A kind, cultured and elegant man, who also acted as counsellor for the City of Florence and, shortly before dying, donated a selection of his creations to the Museum of Fashion in Palazzo Pitti.

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