Figure 11.3. Wool day coat by Sorelle Fontana, 1964. Source: Fontana archive, Rome, n31./F. Courtesy of Sorelle Fontana, Alta Moda SRL.
are both simple shifts, in two different colours, which use drawn detail to indicate buttons and seams, in the Surrealist manner.41 These examples all contribute to the definition of Italian boutique style; the designs are restrained, yet offer detail which catches the eye, at sub-couture prices. Another example of boutique design by a couturier has been recently donated to the Costume Museum at Bath. It is described as a ski-suit, but was probably worn for
41. This method was pioneered by Italian-born couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, who worked in Paris in the inter-war period.
informal winter-wear. It dates from the mid-1950s and comprises an unfitted jacket, rollneck sweater and matching ski-pants. Clearly, it contrasts very strongly with French couture.
The only identified examples of boutique garments by a boutique designer are by Pucci. However, more Pucci garments have been unearthed than by any other Italian designer, at either couture or boutique level. This is probably because so very many were sold, and also because they were seen to be so very directional. In 1998, for example, the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, for example, had twenty-seven Pucci garments dating from the 1950s, and a massive eighty-seven from the 1960s. Such numbers testify to the increasing popularity of Pucci in America in these years.
Because there are so few examples in existence, contemporary media coverage of boutique style is especially important. Bellezza covered this level of production from the late 1940s. A typical example was published in July 1953, and was called 'The Wind on the Beach'.42 This piece included beach shots of a young model with loose hair and no shoes, wearing a jersey two-piece (trousers and a loose stripe top) by Simonetta and a halter top by Antonelli, worn with shorts. This is a very different fashion ideal to that proffered by haute couture.
Boutique coverage by Linea Italiana began in Winter 1949, with a feature for ski-resort wear, entitled 'Sport below Zero'. The magazine featured swimwear and beachwear for the first time that summer, with items by both well-known couture houses and boutique firms.43 There is a variety of outdoor and holiday settings: on deck, on the quayside, and on the beach. Young girls are dressed in afternoon dresses, playsuits, smocks, capri pants, wraps, bikinis, and hooded tops (figure 11.4). In another feature, two years later, one jacket by Bronzini is described as a 'rustic jacket' in 'green-red-azure-yellow towelling, garnished with fringes'.44 The use of such practical fabrics for fashionable wear was also unusual and was a new post-war phenomenon in Europe. The trend towards "easy elegance" continued through the 1950s.
A subset of this boutique sector, which fits into this trend very neatly, is Italy's fashion knitwear. In Summer 1954, the knitwear magazine Linea Maglia published an editorial entitled 'Holiday knitwear synthesised for the modern taste'. The feature included a range of beachwear by boutique
42. 'Il Vento sulla Spiaggia', Bellezza, July 1953, pp. 22-3.
43. Linea Italiana, Summer 1949, p. 9. Beachwear by Marucelli, Gallia Peter, Ferrario, Brunelli, Alma, Rina, Veneziani, Alda, Moro, Lilian and Rina, Tico Tico, Montorsi, De Gaspari and Zezza.
44. Linea Italiana, Spring 1951, pp. 37-8.
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