Loredana. Italian model. Born in Venice, she was much in vogue from 1950 to 1954. Irving Penn dedicated a Vogue cover to her in September 1952 and she also graced the covers of Bellezza, Grazia, Eva, Die Elegante Welt, Linea and many other women’s titles. Her first marriage was to Giorgio Pavone. She modeled for designers like Carosa, Simonetta Visconti, the Fontana sisters, and Galitzine.
American ready-to-wear label. From the name of Zelda Fitzgerland, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and a protagonist of the wild years, the beautiful and damned era of the Wasp high society that divided its time between New York, Paris, and the CÂte d’Azur. Quite deliberately, the specialty of this ready-to-wear label is recreating contemporary versions of 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s clothes. While the colors and fabrics may always follow the latest trends, the designs are always classic, with careful attention to details like hand embroidery, vintage buttons, and pockets sewn so that they remain hidden. The look has been defined as modern vintage.
Alberto (1953). Italian designer, specialized in knitwear. He started out in the 1970s, working on product planning and quality research for the Della Rovere label. He achieved commercial success with the invention of reversible cashmere and lambswool pieces. He founded his own label in 1987 and started producing more modern, linear knitwear made from combed yarns, predicting a trend that subsequently materialized. For several years he was in charge of the “Tibet fibers” project run by the American Bridge Fund, which was set up to promote one of the Tibetan people’s primary resources — yak hair. Since 2001 he has been collecting knitwear seconds, which he then repairs by hand and transforms into unique pieces to be sold through his Recycled Knit label. The label is distributed in Milan, Florence, New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
Alexandre (1950). French hairdresser born in Tunisia. He worked for Lorca, the inventor of the blow dry, for 10 years from 1968 to 1978, and opened his first salon in Paris in partnership with Shiseido in 1987. During the 1990s he opened a further 4 salons in Japan and another in France. He works for famous designers, such as Gaultier, Mugler, Valentino, and Versace. His style is characterized by very sophisticated hairdos, with full chignons, and complicated plaiting.
Wool mill specializing in pure wool worsted fabrics, cashmere blends, and extra fine merino that is machine washable. Their products are produced with classic and crêpe finishes. Located in 1968 in Strana (Biella), in recent years the mill’s annual production has reached about 2 million meters, 78% of which is exported.
The zoot-suiter style, brought back into vogue in the 1980s by Kid Creole and Sugar Coated, Hernandez, and Chris Sullivan with his Blue Rondo. The zoot suit style had its origins in New York jazz clubs like the Onyx and Famous Doors towards the end of the 1930s. It was reserved for the kind of men who frequented the clubs on 52nd Street, renamed Manhattan’s “Swing Street,” or Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom where New York’s black dandies used to parade. These were called Zoot-suiters or Zooties, from the style of suits they wore. Zoot is a distortion and phonetic doubling of suit, to underline the exaggeration and taste for excess that typified this new fashion. And everything really was exaggerated and oversized. Starting with the double-breasted jacket two or three sizes bigger than necessary that wraps around the chest and ends in swathes around the knees, and the pants with the waistband up around the chest as if a waistcoat had been grafted onto a pair of breeches with a very low crotch. Pastel hues and tartans were the preferred choices for the fabrics. Fancy accessories of all kinds and long hand-painted watch chains add to the whole effect. The principle of showy consumerism was pushed to the limit, given the profusion and waste of material involved whilst the USA was on the brink of involvement in World War II. Given that state of affairs, in 1941 the American War Production Board set out strict rules to regulate the manufacturing of garments to the millimeter. Paradoxically, as often happens, it was precisely this prohibition that sanctioned the use of a style that in principle was too radical to catch on through its use by a small minority.
Italian jewelry company, founded near Vicenza by the owner Robertino Zancan in 1987. It soon became established on the national and international markets. Zancan’s strength was to recognize the potential of color in jewelry. From the start their products played on the combination of colorful precious stones in geometric settings, then, 15 years later, they adopted more sinuous lines for their Liberty and Nouveau Collections. Several well known Italian actresses have provided testimonials for the brand, including Sabrina Febrilli.
Handmade shoe company based in Casette d’Ete (Ascoli Piceno). The company was only founded in 1995, but it draws on 30 years of experience and tradition in the art of shoemaking. It has a showroom in Milan in Via Montenapoleone and in Rome in Via Bocca di Leone. The brand has three ranges: Silvano Lattanzi (made-to-measure items), Gerardo Fossati (limited runs using Goodyear technology) and Zintala (younger style shoes). The company has agents in the USA and Japan and also offers its foreign customers a made-to-measure service at home.
Label of the Japanese designer Akira Onozuca, the youngest of 6 siblings who learnt the art of dressmaking from his eldest sister. He was assistant to Miyake in his Tokyo and Paris ateliers but set up on his own in 1989, showing in the French capital but always staying within his teacher’s orbit, since his business (30 stores in Japan and an annual turnover of 150 billion lire) is part of the Miyake Group. He opened a boutique, La Cabane de Zucca, in Paris in 1996. Whilst acknowledging that he has clearly been influenced by Miyake, he speaks of a fondness for the fashion of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and for Biba’s clothes.
&Quad;The company has 30 stores around the world, 8 of them called La Cabane de Zucca. The brand has become a leader in Japan and Europe. The designer has also developed a line of accessories, particularly watches, with new designs each season.
Brand and chain of clothing stores. The Spanish Inditex group, which was created in 1963 by the Cortega Gaona family, started with lingerie, then moved into men’s ready-to-wear, then achieved great success with the creation of the Zara boutiques in the 1980s. There are now over 100 stores open in Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Portugal, the UK, and the USA. Using a direct link to 20 or so companies in Galicia, they can restock quickly using the “just in time” system. High quality fabrics, close attention to trends, and restricted prices make Zara appeal to a wide range of customers for women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing.
&Quad;2002, April. Opening of the first Italian megastore, Zara’s 520th in the world. Located in Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, it is the group’s biggest European store, with four floors of women’s, men’s, and children’s fashions. The opening is the first fruit of a joint venture created in 2001 between Inditex and Percassi, the property and trading group that holds a 49% share of Zara in Italy.
&Quad;2002. Positive balance, with a 20% increase in sales.
&Quad;2003. The chain had 531 stores around the world, and increased its selling space by 17% over 2003. Zara was launched in Russia with a store of about 1,500 square meters in Mega Mall, the country’s biggest shopping mall. The launch was the result of a collaboration with the Stockman company from Finland. The English magazine Retail Week, which monitors the distibution sector, proclaimed Zara “International Retailer of the Year” at its annual Retail Week Awards.