I was sent these images of the great Maria Callas, dressed by Biki, by Anna Battista
Italian writer, freelance journalist and film lecturer whom I met at the Trans/National Clothing Conference at Bath Spa University. Thank you Anna! They inspired me to investigate Italian designers of the 1950s and the glamorous ethic of fashion Italian style, during that decade. Where Paris promoted the ultra-slender small busted figure, Rome preferred to celebrate a woman's curves, and captured the imagination of Hollywood and the glamorous international film stars of the time. Biki, who was the step-granddaughter of Puccini, was the designer responsible for creating Maria Callas's chic and glamorous off-stage look.
|Emilio Schubert dresses Gina Lollobrigida|
Gina Lollobrigida in Schubert
The following is from the website http://www.emotionsinitaly.com : -
The Atelier Fontana, specialized in high fashion sartorial creations, is located in Rome, in Piazza di Spagna.
Founded in 1943 by three Italian sisters Zoe, Micol and Giovanna who decided to leave their hometown of Traversatolo, in the province of Parma to find their fortune in Rome, the atelier has made a decisive contribution to the establishment of Italian fashion all over the world, paving a path for all the other big Italian fashion designers that followed over the years.
The Fontana sisters’ first important client was Gioia Marconi, the daughter of the great scientist Guglielmo, the inventor of the radio. Thanks to the magnificent dresses they created for her, their name began to become well known in all the most prestigious circles, and the American actress, Linda Christian, who was about to marry Tyron Power in Rome, decided that she wanted her wedding dress to be designed by the Fontana sisters. It was a fairy tale wedding, the media event of the year, immortalized in all the magazines and newsreels around the world: now the Fontana brand had become truly international.
Immediately afterwards, two famous brides knocked on the door of the three sisters’ fashion house: Maria Pia of Savoy, the eldest daughter of the last King of Italy, Umberto II, and Margaret Truman, the daughter of the President of the United States. Many Hollywood stars wore Fontana creations including Liz Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, Joan Collins, Ursula Andress and Soraya, but their most regular client was Ava Gardner, with whom the sisters established a deep friendship and for whom they made the various garments used in movies like “The Barefoot Contessa” and “The Sun also Rises” in the 1950s.
The Fontana sisters also dressed Anita Ekberg in “La Dolce Vita” after Federico Fellini asked them to design the costumes for the movie. *
Many creations from that period by the Fontana sisters are exhibited in some of the most important museums in the world such as the Metropolitan in New York and the Louvre in Paris.
*Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita, dressed by either Piero Gherardi
or Sorelle Fontana --can anyone clear up this puzzle?
The new Italian "shaggy" haircut - Bellini, Boticelli (worn by American model Leonie Vernet) and Michaelangelo. 1953
Elizabeth Taylor works the new Italian short cut.