Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion

A new exhibit explores the rise which led Italy to become the "fashion powerhouse" it is today.

This article, written by Meg Miller, appears on Co. Design.

How Italy Became A Powerhouse In The Fashion Industry


Italy’s fashion houses are legendary, from Dolce Vita to Prada, Versace to Valentino. The country has always been known for its meticulous craftsmanship and luxury materials, but it was only after Word War II that Italy emerged as a fashion destination.

“Before the war, Italian fashion was always following the direction of French fashion, just like everyone else was. It wasn’t until after the war that Italy’s fashion industry got the confidence and the economic support to come into its own,” says Stefano Tonchi, one of the curators of the exhibition Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion 1945 – 1968. During the ’50s and ’60s, while French labels like Christian Dior and Jacques Fath turned their focus fully on couture, only Italian fashion designers truly understood the need for women to have comfortable, versatile clothing that was also tailored and refined. Italian day wear took off in America (“Italian designers really understood the American women,” Tonchi says) and paved the way for the ready-to-wear collections coming out of fashion houses today.

The exhibition, which will be shown at the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale in February, explores the postwar period when Italian high fashion cemented its place in the global fashion world. Here, Tonchi gives us four factors that led to its rise.

Read more at Co. Design.

Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion 1945 – 1968 will be on view at the NSU Art Museum from February 7 through June 5, 2016.

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