Maria Antonelli & the rebirth of Italian high fashion

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Siena-born Maria Antonelli opened her own fashion atelier in Rome during the second half of the 1930s. At the beginning her designer handwriting was very much influenced by the French haute couture spirit, but quite soon took on by now the quite unmistakable Italian high fashion style that she in turn helped to shape and develop. Her gracefully elegant style attracted the most prestigious names of Italian cinema, such as Clara Calamai, Alida Valli, Anna Magnani and Mariella Lotti.

At the beginning of the 1950s, Antonelli, together with other renowned Italian high fashion designers of her time, took part in the joint fashion shows organized in Firenze by the patron of Italian fashion, nobleman Giovanni Battista Giorgini. In the 50s, the Italian fashion was still very much overshadowed by its more famed French neighbour and the idea of Giorgini was to gather the most famed names of the country in order to create jointly a new image for its fashion sector and to the big extent, to Italy itself. Exclusive shows that took place in one of the most prestigious locations of Firenze, Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti, brought to Firenze glamorous audience, from the buyers of great American department stores to European and Hollywood celebrities to the most famous fashion journalists. By now the Giorgini fashion shows have been widely associated with the rebirth of the Italian high fashion sector.

During 1952-53 Maria Antonelli, again together with her esteemed colleagues from the Italian high fashion sector, such as Germana Marucelli, Vita Noberasco, Jole Veneziani, the Fontana sisters and Emilio Schuberth, forms an association called il Comif for the purpose of international promotion of the Alta Moda Italiana, the Italian high fashion sector, as a fashion and textile industry’s joint initiative.

In 1954 she designs a bridal gown for the England-born Hollywood actress Dawn Addams for her marriage with prince Vittorio Emanuele Massimo in Rome. The story of the beautiful couple is splashed on the cover pages across the world, with the now famous dress contributing to the image creation of the Italian high fashion sector. Just like Maria Antonelli had always dreamed of.

Sienas sündinud Maria Antonelli avas Roomas omanimelise moemaja 1930ndate teisel poolel. Algul on tema looming tugevalt mõjutatud prantsuse haute couture’i vaimust, kuid peatselt omandab Itaalia moedisainile selgelt omase käekirja, seda omakorda kujundades ja mõjutades. Antonelli loomingu graatsiline elegants toob tema klientideks Itaalia kinolina tolleaegsed suurimad staarid, näiteks Clara Calamai, Alida Valli, Anna Magnani ja Mariella Lotti.

Ta osaleb koos teiste tolle aja nimekate Itaalia moedisaineritega ‘50ndate alguses Firenzes Giovanni Battista Giorgini poolt korraldatavatel ühistel moeetendustel, mille eesmärgiks on viia Itaalia mood maailma ja seda Ameerika suurte kaubamajade sisseostjate, Euroopa ja Hollywoodi kuulsuste ning juhtivatest moeajakirjanikest koosneva glamuurse publiku ees. 1952-53. aastatel asutab Antonelli koos Germana Marucelli, Vita Noberasco, Jole Veneziani, õdede Fontanade ja Emilio Schuberthiga ühingu il Comif, mille ülesandeks on koondada Itaalia moe- ja tekstiilitööstust Alta Moda Italiana ehk taassündi läbielava Itaalia kõrgmoesektori turundamiseks maailmas.

1954. aastal disainib ta pulmakleidi Hollywoodi näitlejannale Dawn Addamsile, kes abiellub Roomas prints Vittorio Emanuele Massimoga. Fotod pruutkleidist ilmuvad kogu maailma meedias, aidates kaasa Itaalia moesektori tutvustamisele ning selle mainekujundusele. Just nii nagu Maria Antonelli oli alati unistanud.

Credentials: original fashion photos from the ’50s Italian fashion magazines Novita’ & Bellezza (Accademia di Costume e di Moda di Roma library) SAN, Archivi della Moda, s.d. and various web archives.

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