Italy has been one of Europe’s major trendsetters since the early 11th century, when the country’s major cities began producing luxurious fabrics, garments and accessories. Throughout the Renaissance, Italian designs were popular for being extravagant, often emphasizing costly embellishments comparable to ribbons, brocades and jewels.
Between the 1600 and 1700, however, Italian fashion fell behind as designs worn in the courts of Spain, England and France became more in demand. It was not until the 1950s when Italy came back into the spotlight. That is partially as a result of efforts of Giovanni Battista Giorgini, who held several successful fashion shows in 1951 to 1953, hoping to bring back the recognition of Italian designs.
In the 50s and 60s, Florence was regarded because the country’s fashion capital. Designs during that period were mostly for the rich and famous. Salvatore Ferragamo, one of the oldest and most famous Italian fashion houses, was established there. Other distinguished designers from town are Roberto Cavalli, Emilio Pucci and Enrico Coveri.
Milan became the leader within the 70s and 80s, when Italian fashion veered toward ready-to-wear apparel. Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace arrange their first boutiques in the city. Today, Milan continues to be one of the world’s top fashion capitals. Many of the country’s major brands akin to Gucci, Valentino and Prada are headquartered there. In addition, the town holds a fashion week semiannually.
Rome can also be currently recognized as a center of fashion. It is home to Bulgari, Fendi, the House of Biagiotti and the House of Brioni. The last makes a speciality of handmade suits.