Italian loves

NO. 21

Giannina floral-print satin midi skirt


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Favourite place in Italy: Capri
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A Life in Pictures

'Photographer Douglas Kirkland celebrated in Venice'

As part of the 71st Film Festival, in collaboration with Italian Vanity Fair magazine and Istituto Luce Cinecitta, Canadian born legendary photographer, Douglas Kirkland, was celebrated in Venice with an exhibition called Douglas Kirkland: A Life in Pictures.

Douglas Kirkland’s career as a photographer was profiled through a series of iconic celebrity portraits, including his 1961 photo session with Marilyn Monroe, taken when he was only 27. The 88 works showcased included that of Mick Jagger, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson and Michael Caine, to name a few.

Douglas was one of the main fashion and celebrity photographers of Look Magazine in the 1960s and 1970s.

An extraordinary career.

“Our Life in Pictures show in Venice was a very high point in my life as I turned 80. The words and comments could not have been more profound or more meaningful to me coming from Italian friends and colleagues in this magnificent background. I still feel bathed in the warmth and glamour of the entire weekend. A time I will never forget. I need to especially thank Luca Dini and Laura Piva and their team at Vanity Fair Italy, Roberto Ciccutto and Camilla Cormani and their team at Luce Cinecitta, and Eleonora Pratelli who can move mountains when she decides to and all the actors and friends who were present for me. My heart is full of gratitude and happiness.” Douglas Kirkland

PHOTOGRAPHY
Marilyn Monroe
Audrey Hepburn
Ann Margret
Jack Nicholson
Hugh Jackman
Michael Caine
Cristiana Capotondi
Elle Fanning
Jasmine Trinka
Laura Chiatti
Maria Grazia Cucinotta
Raoul Bova
Douglas Kirkland
Vittoria Puccini
Luisa Ranieri
Giuseppe Fiorello, Pierfrancesco Favino, Luca Zingaretti, Luca Dini, Matilde Gioli, Luisa Ranieri, Alessandra Mastronardi, Anna Verzetti, Vittoria Puccini, Nicoletta Romanoff, Isabella Ferrari, Roberto Cicutto
Francoise Kirkland, Douglas Kirkland, Franca Sozzani, Isabella Ferrari, Renato De Maria
Pierfrancesco Favino
Franca Sozzani
Luca Zingaretti
Isabella Ferrari

Words credited to Emma Scott, portrait photography credited to Douglas Kirkland

 

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Posted in 'Photographers' on Friday 12th September 2014

Guy Grossi - award winning Chef & media personality

'It's a very therapeutic exercise to cook and make things smell and taste delicious, but the thing I love the most is to create something really beautiful and then to give it to someone to try. Seeing the satisfaction on that person's face, that smile, that slight rolling of the eyes, oh mamma mia, that's the greatest feeling in the world.'

Guy Grossi’s parents emigrated to Australia in 1960 coming from a heritage of food and wine from the vineyards of Southern Italy. They settled in the suburbs of Melbourne. His father, Pietro, was a chef and from a very young age Guy would follow his father to work to get ‘his hands dirty’. Like all good Italian households the kitchen in the Grossi home was the focal point. It was where the energy was, people cooking and preparing, people talking. Guy would always get involved and so it became apparent that food and family was going to be his path in life.

Pietro Rossi gave Guy the gift of knowledge; the ability to flavour, to know how much salt and pepper to add to make things taste good, exactly how much time to allow for the onion to sauté properly before you do the next step, all the little details. He taught Guy the humble truth - that if you want to get something done you have to give it your full effort, you can’t do things half hearted otherwise they just don’t work.

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Posted in 'Chefs' on Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Glamorous Lake Como

'a romantic holiday destination'

Less than one hour from bustling Milan, you can discover glamorous Lake Como, one of Italy’s most romantic holiday destinations.

Sightseeing at Lake Como is as simple as hopping on a ferry that links many of the major villages and towns on the lake. Although, for a taste of Lombardy’s dolce vita, I recommend hiring a small speed boat from one of the vendors along the lakeside promenade in Mennagio (no boat licence required) and cruise between the charming mid lake villages of Tremezzo, Bellagio and Varenna.

After a wander through the 17th century Villa Carlotta in Cadenabbia, pack a picnic and head down the road to the public park in Tremezzo. This peaceful local hotspot fringes the fresh water lake with a shallow pebble beach, making it a perfect spot for a summertime dip.

After lunch, visit the nearby town of Lenno and take a stroll through the lush gardens of the elegant Villa Balbianello, which has been featured in Hollywood blockbusters Casino Royal and The Star Wars films.

The Grand hotel Tremezzo’s T Beach Bar is the perfect place to wind down at sunset by their floating pool, before making your way to family run restaurant Al Veluu for superb local cuisine accompanied by the best panoramic views over the heart of the lake.

Photography and words credited to Lauren Michelle

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Posted in 'Travel, We love' on Friday 15th August 2014

Palazzo Margherita

'Mr Francis Ford Coppola's Southern Italian luxury boutique hotel'

When Julie and I travelled to Bernalda in Southern Italy, we found an unassuming city, almost sleepy in the southern heat of the day. The city is nestled between the ancient towns of Metapontum and Matera, and surrounded by olive and grape growing hills. Most families living in the city go back several generations, often never having travelled outside the region. The pale stone crumbling walls say it all - this town is seriously laid back. The streets are extremely narrow, which I discovered trying to manoeuvre our hire car through to our final destination, but filled with the friendliest of people, sitting in rows of chairs, smoking and conversing.

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Posted in 'Travel' on Sunday 10th August 2014

Sicilian family holiday

'Italian style'

Being ‘in love’ with Italy means I happily embrace travelling long distances with small children but every time I do it, I learn a little more, do it a little differently. This year it is fair to say we ‘holidayed like the Italians’… and we loved it!!

Lucky for us we were in great hands holidaying with dear Italian friends. The days began leisurely with a civilized lie in, followed by a cafe and brioche at the bar, then a long lazy day at the beach, home for a spritz, a late dinner in the piazza, a relaxing passeggiata for granita, before falling into bed and doing it all over again. This recipe was such a success that it made a two week holiday feel like three.

We indulged in this beautiful holiday in an incredible part of the world called ‘Scicli’ a baroque town in Southeast Sicily. Scicli is like stepping back in time; the romantic narrow cobble stone streets, the elegant architecture, the couple selling green beans from the back of their three- wheeled ape, the boys playing football outside the church - it was like being on a film set. I must admit though pinpointing this authentic Sicilian town didn’t happen by chance. It was thanks to our friend Simone, an architect, who had just finished a renovation in Scicli and invited us all to stay.

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Posted in 'Travel, We love' on Monday 4th August 2014

Rosita Missoni - Matriarch of the Missoni Brand

'We have always been inspired by a combination of colour and shapes within flowers. Flowers inspire the fantasy of our world. My husband was always a very good artist and used these inspirations to create a system; when knitting the fabrics every single thread had a number that corresponded to a colour and then the kind of yarns he wanted to use. He created a language of his own.'

To me, flowers are home. My earliest memories are of following my mother on Sunday’s as she meticulously nurtured our beautiful garden. She would explain the different varieties, what time of year each would bloom, what kind of conditions each would need to flourish. There was so much patience and appreciation. Today, as a designer, flowers continue to be a huge source of inspiration for me, not only because of the beautiful memories I associate with them but because of the way they express infinite combinations of colour, texture, shape and scent.

I have always adored Missoni design, but when I discovered that Rosita Missoni, matriarch of the eponymous Italian fashion and homeware brand, also has a great love of botanicals, I was more than inspired to meet her.

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Rosita's Italian tips:

1. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ITALY?

Venice is magical from all angles; from its precious Palazzi to its Lido, its several markets such as the one in the Rialto where you can buy fruit and vegetables; to its many surrounding islands such as Torcello, Murano, Giudecca. You not only have architecture to explore, but also many exhibitions, from paintings to other subjects.

2. WHAT HOTEL WOULD YOU RECOMMEND IN VENICE?

I would recommend hotel Cipriani alla Giudecca, it has a big swimming pool and is good for families.

3. WHERE WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO EAT IN VENICE?

Trattoria Alla Madonna is a great restaurant and don't forget Harry’s Bar for an aperitivo Bellini (also the restaurant is very good but a little expensive). I would also suggest Do Forni, not far from Piazza San Marco, and Pasticceria Rosa Salva for its Venetian specialities such as  “gialletti” e “budini di riso”.  Un Fritolin is a good restaurant for a quick lunch. You will find dishes such as "baccala mantecato" or "sardelle in saor" at Trattoria Aciugheta in Campo Santi Filippo e Giacomo. But also out of Venice I would suggest in Burano Trattoria al Gatto Nero and in Torcello the Locanda Cipriani with a excellent Venetian cuisine.

4. IF SOMEONE HAS A FASCINATION WITH BOTANICS AND FLOWERS, WHERE IN ITALY WOULD YOU SUGGEST THEY VISIT? IS THERE A FLOWER SHOW OR FESTIVAL THAT THEY MUST SEE?

Places like the islands of Lake Maggiore, such as Isola Bella, or the beautiful Villa Taranto in Pallanza is famous for its botanical gardens. Near Venice, you can dedicate a tour to the Palladian Villas on boats, to visit their fascinating gardens and precious architecture.

5. IF YOU WERE TO GIVE FLOWERS FOR A GIFT, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FLOWERS OF CHOICE?

Depends on the season: Anemonys and in the springtime and Tulips.

6. WHEN IT COMES TO DESIGNING YOUR HOME, ARE THERE ANY GREAT ITALIAN DESIGNERS THAT YOU HAVE AN AFFILIATION WITH? OTHER THAN MISSONI HOME, WHO WOULD YOU SHOWCASE IN YOUR HOME?

Among big famous designers I love especially Gio Ponti. My chairs in my Milano, Sumirago and Sardenia homes are Hans Wegner design; and my preferred couches are Antonio Citterio from B&B; but I also like the Kartell chairs.

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Posted in 'Designers' on Monday 14th July 2014

Culinary powerhouse unite in celebration of the AAWI Travel Directory Launch

'With Cira and Ormeggio at The Spit'

On Wednesday night Julie and Emma from An Affair with Italy were thrilled to host a special evening to mark the launch of the An Affair with Italy Travel Directory. The night was an intimate evening on the water at Mosman, in collaboration with Cira (Council of Italian restaurants in Australia), an organisation at the forefront of promoting the values of authentic Italian cuisine in Australia, values that An Affair with Italy shares and cherishes.

Four of Australia’s most revered chefs (Alessandro Pavoni from Ormeggio, Giovanni Pilu from Pilu at Freshwater, Sandro Di Marino from A Tavola and Gabriele Taddeucci from Balla) joined forces at Ormeggio at The Spit, each bringing their Italian regional heritage to the table through the creation of an indulgent degustation menu. The menu was a celebration of the rich diversity of Italian cuisine, showcasing four of the many regions featured throughout the new An Affair with Italy Travel Directory, a treasure trove of information on where to stay, eat, drink, shop and play in Italy; a user-friendly encyclopedia that brings the hidden secrets of Italy, as divulged by the inspirational personalities profiled throughout the magazine.

Each of the chefs introduced their culinary creation and delighted the guests with insight into the regionality of their food and secret travel tips of their region, that only a local would know.

The very talented artist Monique Lovering, generously devoted her time to creating a stunning largescale artwork that became the centre piece for the room; a metaphor for the eclectic nature of the regions of Italy. Monique lived and worked in Palermo for two years, so had some wonderful stories of her own to share.

"We are so thankful to all the beautiful creative spirits that came together for the evening to help create what can only be described as a remarkable evening, a night Julie and I will always cherish. And we hope that the An Affair with Italy Travel Directory becomes a great tool for anyone when planning their next Italian adventure." Emma Scott, An Affair with Italy.

“An Affair with Italy is a beautiful read. The travel tips are spot-on, authentic and useful. I’m already planning my next trip using the new Travel Directory.” Nic Cerrone, Jeweler.

“Despite being Italian myself, I always recommend An Affair with Italy to friends planning a holiday as I feel it’s the most precious advice I can give them for an authentic Italian experience.” Laura Fantacci, international magazine editor and founder of www.wearingittoday.co.uk

Visit www.anaffairwithitaly.com, click on the Travel Directory tab and register your details to access the insider’s guide on where to stay, shop, eat, drink and play in Italy.

Special thanks to Cira, Ormeggio at The Spit, the chefs Alessandro Pavoni, Giovanni Pilu, Sandro Di Marino and Gabriele Taddeucci, artist Monique Lovering, Cerrone Jewellers, Velluti's, Aqua Panna, San Pellegrino, Euro Concepts, Godot Wines, Peroni, Moofish, Toby Peet Photographer and Bly Carpenter.

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Posted in 'Business' on Sunday 22nd June 2014

About Antonio Berardi

  • I was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England
  • I have Sicilan heritage
  • I developed an interest in fashion at a young age. As a nine-year-old I saved up to buy an Armani shirt with leather gusset shoulders
  • After finishing high school I attended Lincoln College of Art and Design
  • I began working as an assistant to John Galliano
  • 1990 I was accepted into Central Saint Martins College of Art and design at the University of the Arts, London
  • In 1994 my graduate collection caught the attention of Angela Quaintrell, a buyer for London fashion holding group Liberty. With financial backing from Liberty I produced my first fashion week collection in 1995
  • Kylie Minogue modelled for my first collection week show
  • Some of my most noteable dresses are a coat illuminated with light bulbs that lit up to form a crucifix, the trompe-l'oeil corset dress in a black-and white colour scheme, featuring lace detailing, worn by Gwyneth Paltrow in November 2008 at the premiere of the film Two Lovers

Antonio Berardi & Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou - Fashion designer and creative director

'From an early age I was aware of fashion, my family and I would go back to Italy, to Sicily, every year for 2-3 months and we had a special wardrobe. We needed clothes for church, we had to wear suits and we had to have the right shoes. We would wear linen and colour, which you didn't wear in England. I was made aware of the idea that when we travelled we never knew who we were going to bump into, so we had to look immaculate, even going to the airport. And you did it not just for yourself, but for your family, it was a status thing.'

About Antonio

I aspire to be one of those people who carefully considers their wardrobe choice before walking out their front door, every day. I hate the thought of ducking down to the local store in my tracksuit pants only to run into three people I know. And as I interview the very talented London-based fashion designer Antonio Berardi and his equally fabulous creative director Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou, I am excited to discover that they are also, advocates for a ban on the tracksuit in public.

Antonio and Sophia have been working together for many years. A marriage. And you can tell, there is an intimacy, a shared history of creativity, an unspoken understanding. Together they light up the room. They are vibrant, energetic and playful. It is wonderful to watch.
Sophia was working for a newspaper when they first met.

Sophia: “We were doing a feature on young graduate designers from Saint Martins, a prestigious design school in London, and I had to interview each of the designers. I met Antonio and was struck by his raw talent. We had a rapport and he asked me to come and work for the brand as a creative consultant.”

That was 17 years ago.

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Antonio's Italian tips:

1. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ITALY?

My heritage is Sicilian, so I would have to say Sicily. There really is no place like it in the world. My parent’s hometown is in the province of Agrigento, so the area is really my playground. I love Sciacca, a little medieval town, with a little port, and beautiful piazzas brimming with bars and restaurants.

2. DO YOU HAVE A HOTEL THAT YOU ALWAYS GO BACK TO?

Yes, I stay at The Verdura, an amazing Rocco Forte Hotel which I would recommend to anyone.

3. IS THERE A RESTAURANT THAT YOU WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND?

In Sicily you eat well wherever you go, the produce is so fresh and the flavours are unique. A tomato in Sicily tastes like nothing else. Would I recommend anywhere? No! Discover for yourself and you won't be disappointed.

4. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO IN SICILY?

Reminisce!

5. WHERE IN ITALY WOULD YOU FIND THE ANTONIO BERARDI LABEL?

Louisa via Roma in Florence and Corso Como 10 in Milan.

6. IS THERE AN UP AND COMING ITALIAN DESIGNER THAT WE REALLY MUST LOOK OUT FOR?

Fausto Puglisi who is also Sicilian.

7. WHEN IT COMES TO ACCESSORISING ANTONIO BERARDI WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST?

Killer heels by Rupert Sanderson for Antonio Berardi, a pair of 18th century drop earrings, and an amazing perfume.

 

Sophia's Italian tips:

1. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ITALY?

Venice for its darkness and mystery and the idea it's a place so overflowing with history, romance and intrigue. It's like a real labyrinth.

2. DO YOU HAVE A HOTEL THAT YOU ALWAYS GO BACK TO?

The Hotel Gritti Palace, for its faded grandeur built in 1525. It is so wonderful, located in one of the huge sites that overlook the Grand Canal. So breathtaking.

3. IS THERE A RESTAURANT THAT YOU WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND?

Alla Madonna, down a tiny narrow road off the Rialto Bridge the most amazing seafood ever and a brilliant traditional atmosphere - fresh fish every day, very unassuming and honest food cooked with love!

4. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO IN VENICE?

Always walk the streets at night when it is deserted, it feels like you have the city all to yourself, you really feel the ghosts of all the lovers that have been there before. I especially adore St Mark's Square when it is flooded or really early in the morning watching the sunrise. Always be there with someone you love, stop in little streets together, such romance in the darkness.

5. FOR THE BEST ITALIAN FASHION WHERE IN ITALY WOULD YOU SUGGEST TO GO?

Anywhere where I can buy authentic handmade lace, tableclothes and linen.

6. IS THERE AN UP AND COMING ITALIAN DESIGNER THAT WE REALLY MUST LOOK OUT FOR?

Unfortunately I feel young talent in Italy face real challenges and hurdles to exist in an environment dominated by the fashion giants. Riccardo Tisci had to leave Milan and work for a French house Givenchy, to get the recognition he deserved. You never know, he may be enlisted in the future to come back to Italy to work for a big Italian house - that would be amazing.

7. WHEN IT COMES TO ACCESSORISING WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST?

You can never have too many accessories, I have at the moment 600 pairs of shoes and counting and about to start a collaboration where I am designing my own footwear and endless sunglasses. I just adore them, they can really change the whole direction of a look. I have quite a fetishistic approach to footwear and really always chose sexy over practical any day.

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Posted in 'Fashion' on Monday 9th June 2014

About Ron Robinson

  • I Started my business 36 years ago, 1978 after working for Fred Segal for 9 years.
  • Now own several specialty fashion stores including Men’s, Women’s, StylObjects - Home accessories and design items, LIFE SIZE- Kids fashion apparel. APOTHIA - cosmetics, skincare and fragrance.
  • Launched and aided numerous beauty and fashion lines over the years, from a time they were virtually unknown to their super status today, including Kiehls, Hard Candy, Cross Colors, Aesop, Czech and Speak, Lorenzo Villoressi.
  • Our Los Angeles heritage and store that is iconic in the fashion community for all these years is supported by our many celebrity clients from all fields. We believe all of our customers are celebrities!
  • Developed Apothia fragrances in 2001 by creating “IF eau de parfum”, for our store first. Now a cult favorite in specialty circles worldwide.
  • Eight of the fragrances developed for Apothia, which includes candles, diffusers, washes and lotions, have been voted Interior Scent of the Year by the Fragrance Foundation – the fragrance industry’s equivalent of an Oscar!
  • Had the extreme privilege to collaborate with Rosita Missoni and develop the Missoni Home candle range in 2010 and launched in Paris 2013.
  • For the past 22 years I have worked together with my amazing spouse, Stacy, who is a brilliant business person and responsible for much of our organisation and growth.
  • For the past 20 years we have watched our son Max grow into an amazing young man. He attends school at University of Colorado in Boulder, but is now at study abroad in Barcelona. Our best and most fulfilling accomplishment!

Ron Robinson - Boutique owner at Fred Segal, Los Angeles based clothing retail store

'I arrive to a table laid out with all of my fragrances and all of my candles and I saw little squares of Missoni designs shaped like my boxes. I got goose bumps. I thought I'm not really going to have to pitch here. That's when I first realised that before me was an opportunity of a lifetime. Rosita Missoni came in.'

About Ron

Los Angeles is an intriguing city. To me it’s a modern day version of the ‘wild west’. Anything is possible. People arrive to follow their dreams and make their fortune - movie stars, business people, executives. It’s a remarkable juxtaposition of the established and the potential.

The first time I arrived I was told that you can’t go to LA without spending a morning at Fred Segal on Melrose Avenue - the very hip clothing and fashion retail department store, made of individually owned boutiques each offering their own unique selection of clothing from all over the world, under the Fred Segal umbrella. A maze of captivating rooms. A celebrity darling. I spent a couple of hours exploring everything Fred Segal had to offer - from Apothia fragrances to YSL one-of-its-kind shirts before settling into an LA style salad at the Melrose Cafe to watch the stream of chauffeured cars arrive with the fashionable ready to shop.

6 years later I spend a fascinating morning talking to Ron Robinson, the very likeable character behind the store Ron Robinson at Fred Segal; a walking embodiment of established and potential.

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Ron's Italian tips:

1. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ITALY? DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE HOTEL THAT YOU ALWAYS GO BACK TO?

My oldest memories are in Florence, having spent countless visits there beginning more than 30 years ago. I would always stay in the Hotel Lungarno, on the River Arno. Many years ago it was the place that many in the apparel industry would stay. The bar area consisted of a few comfortable chairs and a sofa surrounding a coffee table. Everyone in the industry would sign their names inside the drawers of the coffee table and it became a who’s who retrospective.

2. IS THERE A RESTAURANT THAT YOU WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND?

Is there really any food that’s not good in Italy? I have places that I attempt to make sure to visit, Camillo for Florentine steak and Coco Lezone for lunch.

3. AS SOMEONE THAT UNDERSTANDS HOW TO CREATE A UNIQUE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE, WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE IN ITALY?

Being out on the streets of Florence and Milan all day long, breaking for lunch and continuing till sundown. It’s like shopping on steroids.

4. IF YOU WERE TO BUY A MEN'S ITALIAN SUIT IN ITALY, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

I buy clothes by feel and fit (ok, sex plays a part as well, I want to feel it).

5. AS A GREAT LOVER OF MISSONI HOME PRODUCTS, WHERE WOULD YOU GO IN ITALY TO BUY MISSONI HOME?

The Missoni Home showroom in Milan.

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Posted in 'Business' on Sunday 18th May 2014

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014

'Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 5 April - 27 July 2014'

London's Victoria and Albert Museum is celebrating the elegance and artistry of Italian Fashion with this comprehensive landmark exhibition, The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014.

This exhibition is a fascinating look at the transformation of post-war Italy into an international emblem of sophisticated fashion and style. With nearly a hundred exquisite ensembles and accessories this retrospective exhibition brings to life the history of a rich and vibrant Italian fashion industry; showcasing pieces by leading fashion houses and designers such as Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Valentino, Simonetta, Sorelle Fontana, Missoni, Marni, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Prada, Versace and Pucci, and the next generation of Italian designers.

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Posted in 'Designers' on Wednesday 14th May 2014