Charles (1906-1978). British designer. He was nicknamed the “architect of fashion” for his wise cut and his evening dresses of sculpted shapes. A man with a difficult temper, he was, according to Balenciaga, one of the greatest world couturiers. Friend of Cecil Beaton and Gertrude Stein, he drew inspiration from painting, using the drawings of famous artists to create his models. His famous plissé blouse was inspired by Matisse and the matelassé white jacket was taken from a drawing by Cocteau. Born in Sandhurst, England, he studied at Harrow. He emigrated to Chicago where, towards the end of the 1920s, he made his debut as a milliner, but the business failed. In 1928 he moved to Long Island. A manicurist wore his hats and they were noticed. He opened a showroom in New York. In 1929 he started designing clothes and, in the same year, he presented his first Collection in London. Throughout the 1930s, he commuted between London, New York, and Paris. He was among the first to introduce the spiral zip fastening and the divided skirt. He became one of the favorite tailors of Marlene Dietrich and Gertrude Lawrence and, in 1940, he settled in New York. Four years later he designed clothes for the salon of Elizabeth Arden. In 1947 he returned for a short time to Paris to present a Collection that was very successful. Once he had returned to New York, his business experienced some ups and downs, which caused him to retire in 1958. He continued to teach couture until the 1970s. In 1980 a retrospective was dedicated to him at the Brooklyn Museum.
French perfume brand. Established in 1800 by Jean Marie Farina (1785-1864), who is regarded as the main individual responsible for the success of eau de Cologne. Born in Piedmont, he arrived in Paris from Germany (where his parents had emigrated) at the age of 30, bringing with him the recipe of a new type of water distilled in Cologne, based on orange flowers, lemon, bergamot, rosemary, and lavender. He opened a laboratory in Rue Saint-Honoré, and named the fragrance Extra Vieille. Today it is said that Napoleon was the fragrance’s testimonial: he used liter after liter. In 1840, once Farina — who had enriched his catalogue with more types of eau de Cologne and some cosmetics — had reached the pinnacle of fame, he sold his business to the Collas family. The business remained with the Collas family until 1862, when two cousins took it over, Roger and Gallet. Still today, two famous eau de Cologne struggle for the title of direct descendant from Farina’s formula: the Extra-Vieille by Roger & Gallet and the 4711 Kölnische Wasser by Mülhens.
Mary Phelps (Caresse Crosby). American dressmaker. In 1914 she invented a very light bra without straps and whalebone supports. Its purpose was not to extol the breast, but to flatten it. Her idea was a product of the garµonne fashion of the 1920s, the crisis woman. The bra was successful throughout the decade, guaranteeing the dressmaker with a place in fashion and female costume history.
Men’s shoe line. Established in 1995 by the French shoe factory Freelance and characterized by a sophisticated image and a research stylistic content. The line was named after the owners’ grandfather, Guy and Yvon Rautureau. In 1870 their ancestor opened a shoe workshop in La Gaubretière, where the offices and the plant of the group are still located.
Rossella. She started her career in fashion in 1974 by opening a small shop called Il Pomeriggio (The Afternoon), in which she sold designer clothes, such as Issey Miyake, Ter & Bantine, and other famous names. In 1986 she worked with Nicola Trussardi to develop clothing and accessory lines. In 1978 she created, with two designing friends, the Alveare line. In 1981 she met Franco Moschino and collaborated with him on the Cadette Collections. After a period at Bottega Veneta, she returned to Moschino in 1984. She worked as first assistant for the Moschino Couture line and the accessories, then for all the lines. In 1994 she became the heir as creative director for the company’s production and image.
Pants that marked the aesthetic culture of the second half of the 20th century. In addition to their practicality, they represented and continue to represent a symbol (although changeable over history) from workers’ uniform or the uniform of youth protests, from rebel to pop, to passé partout without age or role limits. They can be basic or interpreted according to a style, in traditional indigo or colored, faded, marbled, stone-washed, torn, or starched. Every decade creates its favorite list, preferring a certain type of finishing, color, or style. Worn with a blue blazer is the informal uniform of businessmen, whereas a baggy version is the favorite garment of the rap rebellion. The fabric is similar to denim (from NÑmes) — it actually has the same Levantine structure (diagonal lines, front different from the back) — but it is lighter. Created in Genoa. It is a highly resistant, light fustian, from Genoa, actually called jean or jeane. It was present in the market since the Middle Ages, but its transformation into working trousers dates back to the 1800s, when it was used by longshoremen. It was only from 1850 that the term jeans was used to identify not the fabric but a model. In San Francisco, Levi Strauss, with his partner Jacob David Youphes, launched a model of resistant trousers with five pockets for the gold-diggers. After approximately a century, from the 1840s to 1900s, jeans became a trendy garment, first in the USA and then in Europe. In the late 1960s, during the outbreak of the hippy movement, they were the common denominator of rebellion. With the passing of time, jeans have changed models and their manufacturing techniques, following the temporary rules of designers’ fantasy rather than political ideologies. As well as the historical Levi’s, two other jeans manufacturing companies represent the identification between a clothing piece and a brand: Lee and Wrangler.
French shoe brand. Established in Fougères in 1921, it developed according to a classic style, focusing on production efficiency and the acquisition of new plants. The range expanded to include men’s shoes and comfort shoes. In 1985 the management passed from the hands of the Martin family to Jean-Claude Duriand, who acquired 33% of Palladium and the licenses of Chevignon and Kenzo Man.
Clothing line. Established by the king of rap Sean “Puff Daddy Combs”. Born in Harlem, the African-American neighborhood of New York, Combs, also known as “P. Diddy”, quits college studies to enter into the world of music. His talent and personal style soon took him to the top of the A&R. Only 24, he established the Bad Boy Entertainment, the first music label exclusively dedicated to hip hop. The success of artists such as Craig Mack, Biggie Smalls, and Notorious B.I.G. launched the company in the international music market, promoting an unusual kind of music and a new urban language. In 1998 Combs started the clothing brand John Sean, presenting 32 men’s suits for a target between 12 and 40 years, built to his own image and similarities. The Collection attracted the public’s curiosity obtaining, for three years in a row, a nomination to the award yearly assigned in New York by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Combs, to meet the taste of a larger clientele, as well as progressively abandoning the overly restrictive rules of the hip hop aesthetics, later decided to also launch a womenswear line, adding urban chic to his creations.
Kim. English designer. She studied fashion at St. Martin’s School of Art. In 2001 she launched her own brand with a line of menswear. In 2003 she added a women’s line. Her style is relaxed, comprised of American-style sweaters, T-“shirts, and comfortable pants, worn by trendy personalities such as John Galliano.
British brand. Its designers have tested an unusual use of fluid latex as a decoration and seam. They presented in London their first fashion Collection in Spring 1979, composed above all of evening dresses in pleated hand-painted silk. They both passed away in the early 1990s.