Milanese shop selling made-to-measure shoes from the finest leathers. Adolfo Quintè, the founder of the brand, was born in Lodi (Italy) in 1883 and opened his first shop in Milan in 1929. In 1930 came a second shop in Via della Spiga which at that time did not yet feature on the fashion scene. Gabriele D’Annunzio was an admirer, and made this dedication: “To the great Quintè who with his immortal shoes allowed me to adopt Severo Severi’s motto insuetum iter.” Shortly before the war he opened a shop in Via Dante and an atelier on the second floor of 2 Galleria del Corso. In the 1950s Adolfo’s son Bassano joined the business, and his sense for the importance of the world of theater, opera, and cabaret brought collaborations with various companies. Quintè’s clients included Frank Sinatra, Maria Callas, Josephine Baker, Wally Toscanini, Gino Cervi, Wanda Osiris, Gino Bramieri, Walter Chiari, and the poet Giuseppe Ungaretti. Quintè can still be found in Milan today, in Corso Venezia.
Mary (1934). English designer. Part of the Swinging London scene, she shared with Courrèges the invention of the miniskirt. Born in London, she studied at the Goldsmith College of Art, where she met her future husband Alexander Plunker Greene (1933-1990). Soon after graduating in 1955 she opened her first shop, Bazaar, on the Kings Road with Greene and Archie McNair. Soon after, she started designing and making her own clothes, and found instant fame with her young and timely fashion which captured the spirit of 1960s London. She gave teenagers already rebelling against the wardrobes and habits of their mothers the possibility to dress in a daring and revolutionary way with respect to the bourgeois formality of the previous generation: thigh-skimming skirts, skinny ribs, splashes of color, patterned tights. She also used new materials: PVC for a line of rainwear. In 1961, her success meant the opening of a second shop in London, and two years later she embarked on the US market with Ginger Group. In 1966 she founded her cosmetics company (with its daisy logo) and was awarded an OBE. She designed collections for the American chain J.C. Penney and for the Puritan Group, and under her own brand she produced shoes, bed linen, carpets, wallpaper, and hosiery. From 1968 she rode on a new wave of success, but this died out in the 1970s, and her star as a designer faded. However the Group carrying her name continues to do good business, even away from the spotlight.