Ballard, Bettina

Ballard, Bettina (1906-2015). Journalist. During the 1950s she was editor-in-chief of Vogue America. She also worked with Harper’s Bazaar.

Ballard, Bettina (1906-2015). Journalist. During the 1950s she was editor-in-chief of Vogue America. She also wrote a memoir called In My Fashion. Italian fashion owes her a great deal, as it also owes to Carmel Snow of Harper’s Bazaar, Sally Kirkland of Life, Eugene Sheppard and Hebe Dorsey of the New York Herald Tribune, Fay Hammond of the Los Angeles Times, Nancy White of Life, and Matilde Taylor (she was a supporter of the correspondent Elisa Massai) of Women’s Wear Daily which, in the season of the first presentations, supported it enthusiastically.

Bettina Ballard and John Rawlings (photographer).

Ballard in the 50s

In February 1951, a few days after the first shows in Florence which gave Made in Italy its start, and at which only five Italian journalists appeared, Giovanni Battista Giorgini, the organizer, received this letter from Bettina Ballard. “Actually your event was too close to the French collections to allow me to leave Paris. But I received excellent news from Jessica and Franco of Bergdorf Goodman and from Cole of Leto Chon Balbo. They all seem very interested in Italy, and Vogue is too. I’m sure that we will do something together very soon.” That “soon” came quickly.

On July 19th of the same year, Ballard sat in the first row at the Grand Hotel in Florence. It was for the second Italian High Fashion Show.

In her memoir, she commented on the success of Italian clothing remembering her time in Rome as a Red Cross nurse right after World War II: “When I saw those aristocratic ladies in Rome wearing dresses that were from before the war but made of flowered silk, with sandals like those worn by friars or else that were jewel-shaped, with large, fringed straw hats, I, who was dressed in the latest Paris fashion, felt very out of fashion. The victory of the Italian style was determined, indeed, by its imagination, by the inspiration of a fashion not made for special occasions, and not for the liturgy, but a fashion inspired by the Mediterranean and by living in its light and midst its colors.”

The journalist passed away on March 2, 2015, aged 90.

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Abbe, James


Arbiter. Magazine of fashion and style founded in the immediate post-war period. From the start, the contribution of Michelangelo Testa was crucial.

Arbiter. Magazine of fashion and style founded in the immediate post-war period. From the start, the contribution that Michelangelo Testa made to the magazine was crucial.

Michelangelo Testa.

He was hired in 1946 as an editor and within a few months became editor-in-chief and director. Testa turned Arbiter into a magazine with great ambitions, working with the most important journalists and illustrators.

Arbiter in the 50s

The covers done by Paolo Garretto are still famous.The traditional emphasis on information and trends, especially in men’s fashion, was expanded to include all the most important areas of stylistic and artistic production.

Some Arbiter covers.

In the 1950s the magazine played a prominent role in the industrial development of Italian fashion and design. An important event in that history was a meeting in 1951 between textile mills, clothing manufacturers, journalists, and members of the new advertising industry. They met in order to consider the possibility of an absolutely new initiative, a show devoted to men’s fashion.

At the end of the 1960s, Arbiter was taken over by Rusconi Editore. But without Testa’s enthusiasm and leadership, the magazine lost both readers and credibility, and ceased publication. A few years later it was back on the newsstands with a different name, Il Piacere.

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Avoledo, Patrizia

Avoledo Patrizia (1952). Italian journalist and editor of Donna Moderna. Born in Milan, she began to work at the publishing house as a switchboard operator.

Avoledo Patrizia (1952). Italian journalist and editor of Donna Moderna, an Italian women’s weekly published by Mondadori. Born in Milan, she began to work at the publishing house as a switchboard operator while still quite young. Later, after studying psychology and pedagogy she worked for a period as a secretary in the editorial department at DuePiù. It was the beginning of a great career.

Made editor-in-chief at DuePiù in 1985, she later became director of the specialized magazine Dolly, and in 1989 was at Cento Cose as deputy manager under Kicca Menoni. In 1991 she arrived at the recently-launched Donna Moderna, also a Mondadori magazine. She was the deputy of Edvige Bernasconi, who had brilliantly conceived and launched the magazine and achieved an enormous circulation.

Then in 1995 Avoledo became the magazine’s director. A very intelligent woman, she poured great passion into the magazine, and, assisted by her deputy manager Cipriana Dall’Orto, consolidated the magazine’s success, a genuine editorial phenomenon with an audited weekly circulation of 650,000 copies.

She won the Marisa Bellisario prize in the Special Awards section for the “commitment, perseverance and optimism shown at the helm of the best-selling women’s weekly in Italy”.

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Art Gout Beauty

Art Gout Beauty. French monthly of the 1920s founded by the heirs of Albert Godde Bedin. It was printed on glossy paper. Articles were in three languages.

Art Gout Beauty. French monthly of the 1920s founded by the heirs of Albert Godde Bedin, a famous silk manufacturer in Lyon. At the beginning, the magazine favored articles about fabrics and their manufacture. Then there were stories about the history of costume, fashion, life in Paris, and high society. These alternated with pictures of models and illustrations of furs, hats, children’s wear and accessories. At the time, this magazine was the symbol of Parisian elegance. Art Gout Beauty reproduced the creations of the great designers in their original colors. It was richly produced and printed on glossy paper. Additionally articles written in three languages (French, English and German), and illustrated with small color prints and mezzotint engravings inserted into the text.

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Aspesi, Natalia

Aspesi Natalia (1929). Journalist and writer. She was born in Milan on June 24, 1929, and still lives and works there. A columnist for the newspaper La Repubblica, she has followed fashion for years, with a sharp and ironic pen, and paying special attention to costume. Typical of her style was a 1998 article about Naomi Campbell‘s derriere. She also wrote book, Il lusso & l’anarchia (Rizzoli, 1982), an extraordinary piece of research and a fascinating narrative about fashion during the Fascist regime. Before devoting herself to journalism, she worked as a babysitter in Switzerland and England, as a salesman of machinery for creameries, and as a designer of ties.

Natalia Aspesi.

She worked on the evening daily La Notte. The she was hired as a reporter for Il Giorno in the early 1960’s, and has worked at La Repubblica as a special correspondent since its first issue. She wrote La donna immobile (Fabbri Editore, 1976), Lui! Visto da lei (1978), Il trionfo del privato and Vivere in tre (1981).

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Aspesi, Alberto

Aschengreen Piacenti, Kristen

Aschengreen Piacenti Kristen (1929). In ’83 she created the Galleria del Costume for the Palazzo Pitti, one of the few Italian museums dedicated to fashion.

Aschengreen Piacenti Kristen (1929). In 1983 she created the Galleria del Costume for the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. It is one of the few Italian museums dedicated to fashion. Additionally it has put on many exhibits, including The Donation of Tirelli (1986) and Fashion at the Court of the Medici: The Restored Costumes of Cosimo, Eleanor and Don Garzia (1993).

Aschengreen Piacenti Kristen was born in Madras, India to a Danish family. She received a degree in Art History from the Courtauld Institute in London. Additionally she received one in literature from the University of Florence. Then from 1971 to 1996 she worked for the Soprintendenza per i Beni Artistici e Storici di Firenze, first as a supervisor and then as director of the Museo degli Argenti at the Pitti. She was also in charge of the Museo delle Porcellane, also at the Pitti. Since 1992 she has taught the history of fashion and costume at the Catholic University of Milan.

In 1996 she was appointed curator of the Museo Stibbert. She organized the exhibition L’abito per il corpo, il corpo per l’abito. (The Garment Made for the Body, The Body Made for the Garment). From 1983 to 1997 she was director of the Italian Center for the Study of the History of Textiles.

She was also the director of the National Commission for the Conservation and Development of Decorative Arts, Fashion and Costume, and of the Association of Friends of the Galleria del Costume.

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Alaïa, Azzedine

Arnold, Janet

Arnold Janet (1932-1998). English clothing historian. After studying art in Bristol, his hometown, he worked for various English theaters.

Arnold Janet (1932-1998). English historian of clothing. She was born on October 6, 1932, in Bristol. After her art studies in Bristol, her hometown, she worked for various English theaters as a consultant in historical costumes. Janet then worked as a commercial model maker in London, first for Frederick Starke and then for Victor Stiebel. Again in London, she taught the history of costume in the theatre. Her meticulous research on the cutting and constructiion of historical garments were published to noteworthy success.

Arnold Janet in her studio.

The handbook series Patterns of Fashion, with its precise and easy-to-follow drawings, is indispensable for costume designers and historians. Among Arnold most important studies was the reconstruction of the garments belonging to Cosmo I and Eleanor of Toledo from a series of fragments found in the Medici tombs in Florence. Furthermore, in England, she became the authority on the wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth I thanks to her research published in the 1988 book Queen Elisabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d. In the decade before her death she was invited to give lectures all over the world. The Victoria and Albert Museum dedicated a retrospective to her in 1998-1999.

Janet passed away on November 2, 1998 in London.

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Abbe, James

Armani, Misia

Armani Misia (1905-1994). Italian journalist. Armani Misia was among the first, in the 1930s, to have her own fashion column in L’Illustrazione Italiana.

Armani Misia (1905-1994). Italian journalist. Armani Misia was among the first, in the 1930s, to have her own fashion column in a prestigious weekly, L’Illustrazione Italiana. She later worked on the magazines Metropoli and Il Mondo Tessile. Then in 1947 she moved to I Tessili Nuovi.  In 1950 I Tessili Nuovi accepted her suggestion and changed its name to Linea.

Misia, in 1962, with the help of colleagues such as Vera Rossi and Elsa Robiola, she created the Premio Critica della Moda award given by Italian journalists. In 1966 she was among the founders of Linea Italiana, the magazine of the Centro Italiano della Moda (Italian Fashion Centrer). Later it was absorbed by Mondadori and became the official magazine of Italian fashion. She was born in Pavia, but spent her life and career in Milan.

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Anna. Italian women’s weekly published by Rizzoli. It was started in 1984 from a radical restyling of Annabella, a famous magazine.

Anna. Italian women’s weekly published by Rizzoli. It was started in 1984 from a radical restyling of Annabella, a famous magazine which that suffered a deep crisis at the end of the 1970s. Its troubles were evident in the rapid succession of six editors-in-chief in less than ten years: Benedetto Mosca, Paolo Occhipinti, Luciana Omicini, Maria Venturi, Willy Molco, and Carla Gabetti.

In December 1989, another terrible year for the weekly, sales of Anna hit 215,000 copies, their lowest ever. In that year the editorship was given to Mirella Pallotti, who oversaw another restyling of form and content.

Une of the covers of the magazine, when it was still called Annabella.

The magazine became more like the latest version of Grazia, a competing weekly published by Mondadori, with more space for culture and news. Sales began to rise again and reached 367,000 copies in 1992.

Then, starting in 1995, there was a new decline, and the editorship was entrusted to Edvige Bernasconi, who had been successful at Donna Moderna, published by Mondadori. With her, sales returned to more than 300,000 copies.
In February 2003 the editorship passes from Edvige Bernasconi to Rosellina Salemi, formerly deputy-editor for news.

In 2005 the editorship passed to Maria Latella, while in May 2006 Anna changed its name to A.

One of the weekly’s covers, after it had already changed its name from Anna to A.

The last publication of the weekly was in July 2013.

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Io Donna


Amica, Italian women’s monthly on fashion and current affairs founded in 1962, published by Rizzoli. Today it is directed by Emanuela Testori.

Amica. Italian women’s weekly news and fashion magazine founded in 1962 by Franco Sartori, Flavio Lucchini and Enrico Gramigna (the first editor-in-chief), and published by Rizzoli. Its name was chosen by Dino Buzzati, after a publication of the 1930s which illustrated the high fashion of Paris. For a period of time, the magazine focused exclusively on fashion and beauty, with the idea that women’s magazine should “dream” and not inform. Some years later, though, the “practical” aspect was emphasized with the introduction of paper patterns and advice about updating the wardrobe, leaving high fashion with just a very few pages, although always illustrated by Brunetta.

In August 1981, Paolo Pietroni, the editor-in-chief from 1974 1979, returned to his previous post, succeeding Carla Giagnoni. Amica changed its format and target audience, showing a growing interest for products made in Italy. In those years the relationship between information and advertising changed as well. Then 1990 Giovanna Mazzetti was appointed editor-in-chief, a position which she had shared with Pietroni since 1988. The addition of women’s supplements to Corriere della Sera (Io Donna) and la Repubblica (D) brought about a crisis at the magazine. In the Spring of 1998, the editorship was entrusted to Fabrizio Sclavi and Giusy Ferré.

Forty years after its first issue, Amica shut down but was again on newsstands by September, this time edited by Maria Luisa Rodotà with Emanuela Testori as fashion co-editor. The new direction of the magazine was seen in its pursuit of a new aesthetic in graphics and the fashion-image, achieved by photographers such as Jean François Le Page, Kayt Jones, Hans Feurer and Karina Taira. The magazine was converted to a monthly. Daniela Bianchini became the new director.

Amica from 2000

In 2002, Amica’s publishing plan changed from being a weekly to a monthly.

Cristina Lucchini directed Amica from 2011 to 2013. Until November 2020 Emanuela Testori directed the magazine.Subsequently, Danda Santini took her place. The magazine also has a website, where many articles published daily can be viewed.

Amica’s cover, July 2020.