Ritu (1971). Indian designer. She says that she became a fashion designer by chance: “Once graduated from the University of Delhi in 1987, I enjoyed myself making my own clothes, then some friends started to ask me to make some for them too, and in a short time, it became a real business.” The big leap had been made, and in order to gain more confidence in cutting, she enrolled, in 1988, at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi, an affiliate of the well-known F.I.T. of New York. In 1990, as part of the defense of her thesis, she created the Lavanya Collection (in Sanskrit it means “charm”), which was later on sale in boutiques on Regent Street. Today her creations are versatile: from T-“shirts to high fashion, and the uniforms she designed for the Indian team at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1994: a white blazer and navy trousers for men, and a dress inspired by the colors of the national flag for women. But it was her passion for embroidery, often in gold, which is her distinctive feature in the world of fashion, and a desire to specialize even more in this technique, that caused her to go to Paris, where she studied with Franµois Lesage. Her clothes, manufactured with silk, velvet, chiffon and denim, always have a sexy touch, which mixes well with oriental tastes and Parisian refinement. Nicole Kidman, often wearing her clothes, made the Indian designer known in Hollywood.


Umberto. Founder with his brother Alfredo of the men’s knitwear and clothing brand that carries his name. The brand is characterized by a combination of the craftsman traditions of Le Marche, their region of Italy, with sophisticated research in materials. It is part of the firm Sacma SpA, which has a staff of 70 workers. The style is comfortable due to its shape, and rich in details. The brand is distributed in 37 countries all over the world, with the strongest markets in Italy, the U.S.A., and Japan. In June 2003 the firm participated in Pitti ImmagineUomo in order to celebrate its 50th anniversary in business.


(Via) Italian street which connects Piazza Grande to the Corso. It is also known as the “street of fashion” because of the high number of prestigious fashion houses which settled there in the last thirty to forty years.


Brand of clothing. Its origins have deep roots in the history of Balloon Spa, established in Rome in 1976 thanks to an idea of the siblings Gabriella and Roberto Greco to create extremely refined clothes using artisanal yarns and natural fibers such as silk, linen and cashmere. By 2001 Blunauta had become the company brand, in the wake of a big expansion on the international market and new demand from a more and more sophisticated and demanding clientele. The passage from Balloon to Blunauta was marked by the latter’s début on the Milan runways during Milan Collezioni Donna in September 2001. The change of name coincided with improved quality and a rejuvenated, more fashionable product. The philosophy of the company is to offer quality garments at extremely affordable prices, thanks to production which takes place almost exclusively in China through two joint ventures with local partners. There are more than 80 Blunauta shops, divided between directly-owned and franchise stores. They are mainly in Italy, Spain, and the U.S., where a presence was established in December 2002 through Blunauta USA with the opening of 4 directly-owned stores. In that same month, the company decided on a share-offering in the amount of €17.5 million, plus an investment of €25 million to open new single-brands shops. In 2001, Balloon Spa, the holding company controlling the group, had a turnover of €30 million; in 2002, it was 37 million. Some 56% of revenues comes from silk garments, followed by pure cotton, wool and cashmere.


Modelling agency founded in Milan in 1976 by the Frenchwoman Beatrice Manigoff Traissac, who is still the director. Even though it is quite important, it has always tried to have a limited number of highly select models. Among the most famous in 1999, were the top models Tanga, Karen Elson and Stephanie Seymour.


Pierre (1930). Co-founder and president of Yves Saint-Laurent. He lives and works in Paris. To define him only as a manager, as one should for his managerial gifts, would be limiting. He is, in fact, also an author of essays on the theater. At the age of 18 he was the editor of a literary review which had among its authors the most important names of the time, from Camus to Sartre to Queneau. He has been the secretary of Jean Giono. With a passion for art, he contributed to the success of Bernard Buffet. Also having also a passion for music, sometimes to excess, he started Music Mondays at the ThéÀtre de l’Athéné-Louis Jouvet in Paris, which he purchased and restored. He discovered and launched the career of the soprano Jessye Norman. In 1988, appointed by Mitterand, he became president of the Paris Opera, where he would remain until 1994, overseeing the first seasons at the Opera Bastille. His masterpiece, though, was the alliance with Saint-Laurent who, acclaimed for his Trapezium Collection with Dior, he managed to convince to go out on his own, and also arranged the financing. It was 1960. Since that time he has been the entrepreneurial strategist of the house, a support for the designer, and even, with his brusque manners, the guardian of his creativity. Alongside this is his institutional activity as founder in 1973 of the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des createurs de mode, of which he remained president until 1993, and as founder in 1986 and president of the French Institute of Fashion.


Gianni (1932). Italian journalist. Founder and editor of the weekly Fashion. He was hired by the Italian state TV network RAI in 1956, after winning a national competition, and for six years he worked at the general headquarters. In 1963 he began to work as a consultant for large Italian companies such as Lancia Automotive Industry, Buitoni Alimentari, and Gruppo La Centrale, as well as foreign firms such as Repesa and the State Oil Company of Spain. In 1966 he created the corporate newspaper of the insurance company Ausonia, called Ausorgan. In 1967 he was appointed director of Mark 3, an illustrated periodical of motor racing, later acquired by the Gruppo Editoriale della Gazzetta dello Sport. In 1970 he became director of Giornale Tessile, or Textile Daily, known as G.T. In the 1980s he acquired control, and this was the beginning of Fashion, a weekly dedicated to fashion in Italy. This was the only Italian weekly specialized in the textile-clothing sector, and it was straightforward and professional. In 1999 Fashion was taken over by the German multinational group DFV. In 2000, Bertasso founded Mood, a fortnightly magazine focusing on the emerging trends in the fields of fashion, design, art and contemporary cooking. Characterized by careful attention to graphics, Mood offered itself as an innovative Italian style magazine dedicated to the basic sources of taste and to its evolution which, within the various creative fields, gives birth to fashion, design, lifestyle and the spirit of the things that surround us. Aimed principally at those who are active in the fields of fashion and design, it is addressed also to a wider public that is interested in changing trends. Bertasso has been on the teaching staff of the School of Fashion Designers at the University of Urbino, and of the Marzotto project for fashion journalists. He is general secretary and one of the founders of the Best Seller Club Moda, which gathers together the directors and distributors in the field of fashion and design.


Nani (1977). Italian designer. He was the first of several offSpring of Sima Fashion, the knitwear company established in 1960 by the Reggio Emilia families Gibertoni and Montanari. The firm offers jerseys, shirts and button-neck sweaters, for men and women, that can be coordinated. The headquarters is in Puianello, near Reggio Emilia.


Jean-Charles (1929). French milliner and designer. He opened his own maison in 1960, putting his long experience to good use, creating hats for Jean Barthet, for the great couturier Jacques Fath, and for the dressmaker Paulette. He not only worked as an apprentice in a workshop, but also studied at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. His flexible chapeau-bonnet was famous. In the 1970s he began to be interested in prêt-à-porter, sketching models for himself and for third parties. Starting in 1990 he had his own boutique in Rue de l’Université.

Bow tie

According to some, the bow is the most elegant form of tie, and, according to all, the hardest to knot. For those wishing to wear one, it is better to learn how to tie it rather than buy one that is ready-to-wear. It originated in 1894. For menswear it is the natural complement to evening suits: white for tails and black for a tuxedo. It can also be worn in the daytime in a colored or patterned version, as Winston Churchill did.