Everyone knows that he was the ‘father of Italian fashion’, but few know the long journey that led Giovanni Battista Giorgini to organise the legendary fashion show on February 12, 1951 at Villa Torrigiani. This was the event where Italian fashion took its first steps onto the global stage, to then be ‘moved’ to the Sala Bianca in Palazzo Pitti, which again was Giorgini’s idea. And almost no one knows that the birth of Italian fashion almost took place in New York and not Florence.
G.B. Giorgini and the Origins of Made in Italy is the first book to tell this extraordinary story, which is not only about the birth of Italian fashion but more specifically about Made in Italy; and it tells this story by delving deep into the Archivio Giorgini, the vast documentation he himself left behind, relating to both his private and professional life.
A coffee table book of more than 230 pages in English and Italian, edited by Neri Fadigati and published by Gruppo Editoriale in collaboration with Polimoda, where the archive reveals historical photos together with letters, invitations, programmes, articles and other materials from the time.
This elegant graphic presentation is joined by the narrative of top Italian and international designers, such as Gian Luca Bauzano, Daniela Calanca, Grazia D’Annunzio, Eva Desiderio and Sonnet Stanfill. Their pens retrace the life of Giovanni Battista Giorgini, starting with his first trips to America in the 1920s, where he offered buyers a taste of our best handcrafted products. During these post-war trips, Giorgini noticed the great social and stylistic shift that the United States was undergoing. Paris had a large appeal overseas, but its fashion was ornate, grandiose and particularly expensive. Buyers were eager to find simple, wearable clothes which they could use to fill the windows of their department stores, frequented by young women busy juggling work and family. They were just as eager to spend their hard-earned cash on looking pretty and elegant like the film stars. This led to the idea of organising a big fashion show to display Italian clothes as part of the Italy at Work exhibition. The idea went up in smoke due to the department store B. Altman & Co.’s refusal. However, Giorgini did not give up and decided to bring the show to his city. It was therefore because of this refusal by the Americans that Italian fashion was born in Florence and not in New York.
The volume opens with contributions from those who knew Giorgini, such as the stylist Roberto Capucci, and great fashion personalities such as Ferruccio Ferragamo, Laudomia Pucci, Bruce Pask, Men’s Fashion Director of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, and Antonella Mansi, President of the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana.
It is a publication aimed not only at enthusiasts who want to find out all about this important piece of Italian history, but more specifically at fashion students and young stylists, who, thanks to Polimoda’s careful work on the Archivio Giorgini, can find within these pages the garments that made Italian fashion great and the models, some of whom are now more than 70 years old and still have a large presence in current affairs today. With names such as Simonetta, Schuberth, Fontana, Marucelli, Veneziani, Fabiani, Galitzine, Emilio Pucci, Roberto Capucci, Valentino and many others.
G.B. Giorgini and the Origins of Made in Italy is on sale for €49 in Italy’s top bookshops, as well as at gruppoeditoriale.com and in the main online stores.