Sisi was established in 1925 and represents the history of tights in Italy.
The brand resonates with quality and style in the fashion world, it is the absolute glamour brand of ladies’ hosiery and tights. Sisi has been able to export its style all over the world with vast distribution in Europe, Russia and Middle East. The Sisi woman is young but with clear ideas about style. The brand markets itself as irresistibly original, progressive and sensual, and always presents new ideas and as tights that are not only accessories, but a must for all women who pay attention to fashion trends and love fine details.
There are two main line of stockings and tights of the brand:
SISI CLASSIC lines, high in quality and crafted with special comfort yarns making them very comfortable for any occasion. SISI MODA lines, rich in colour and design for a modern look, funny and sexy including a range of knee and ankle-highs.
The brand has always been dedicated to young and dynamic women who desire high quality products. Sisi joined Goldenlady Company in the 1980s. Initially, the distribution strategy focused on retail channel to subsequently extend to medium-high-end department stores. With sales in Italy, Europe and Eastern Europe, at present Sisi produces three different collections of stockings and tights, which are synonymous with a chic and young style and combine the latest trends of fashion with wearability and care for detail. The Classic collection consists of high quality articles, made with the finest fibres and offering different types of knits very pleasant to wear; the Moda collection displays a variety of colours and sensual and cheerful patterns; while the Studio collection is a selection of ankle and knee socks, all original and suitable for less formal occasions. Sisi has also entered the world of underwear with the Intimate collection: modern and refined lingerie, as well as knitwear made with soft and resistant yarns. Rich in colours, patterns and charm, Sisi beachwear is addressed to young women and can be found exclusively inside Golden Point stores.
Sisi is owned by the Goldenlady Group, a market leader in Italy with a share of 35% and a key player in all major European markets including France, Germany, Spain and England, through its subsidiaries and sales agencies. A key position is held in Russia and in Eastern Europe (especially Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and Slovakia) thanks to a local distribution network that has established the Group’s products as symbols of Italian elegance. Also in the US market, the Golden Lady Company has been able to achieve a dominant role.
The Group closed 2016 with a turnover of around 200 million euros with a drop from the previous year which closed at around 280 million euros.
The Group today boasts of 13 production sites located in Italy, United States and Serbia, with an overall production of 400 million tights per year, distributed in 70 countries worldwide. The moving of its production to especially Serbia created an unwanted controversy for the company.
Nerino Grassi is the Chairman of the Group and the headquarters are located in Castiglione delle Stiviere (Mantova), Italy.
Simone Rocha was born in Dublin in 1986. She is the daughter of John Rocha, an Irish designer of Cino-Portuguese origin, elected Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her contribution in the fashion industry of her country.
Simone Rocha takes her first steps in the fashion world in her father’s atelier, initially opposed to his daughter’s choice to follow in his footsteps. At the age of eleven, Simone begins to become familiar with the secrets of tailoring; at fourteen he becomes an assistant and at only seventeen he already works closely with his parents.
It is John himself, after his daughter’s insistence, to invite her to study in the prestigious Central Saint Martin College of Art and Design in London, where he taught Louise Wilson.
First Steps in the Fashion World
In 2012, just two years after graduation, Simone Rocha made her debut with her first collection during London Fashion Week.
In 2014 he signed an agreement with the US label J Brand, for which he designed fourteen items in jeans with a romantic allure, united by details in ruffles.
Awards and Recognitions
In 2013 she was awarded at the British Fashion Awards as an Emerging Talent in ready-to-wear and in 2014 she received the “The New Establishment Award”, a prize organized by the British Fashion Council.
More recently, during the 2016 Fashion Awards, he received the British Womenswear Designer Award and the Harper Bazaar Designer of Year Award 2016. Simone’s Style His fashion brand enters the most influential boutiques in the world: 10 Corso Como in Milan, Dower Street Market, Colette in Paris, Ikram in Chicago, Browns, Seoul and Shanghai. In February 2017, he opened his first store in New York, in the popular Soho district. It was the same designer who decorated the interior of the store, introducing works by Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Bourgeoise and Ren Ri.
The basics of his style caress the feminine romance of the Victorian era forged by lace and pearls. Her creativity is stimulated by the couturier of the past as Christian Dior or more current as Rei Kawakubo – founder of Comme des Garçons – and the same John Rocha, defined by her as “her legacy”.
In his creative visions also the Irish landscapes flare, translated, later, into weaves embroidered on fabrics that recall stories from a bygone era. Just like the Fall / Winter 2016-17 collection presented at the Lancaster House in London which saw the triumph of embroidery on unstructured garments.
Simone loves playing with classicism, re-adapting it in a modern way; the volumes adopted reverberate over the years between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, exasperating them with embossing and strategic ruffles. The aestheticism of the Irish designer also explores the world of tailoring with dubbed garments, with internal and external stitching, to exaggerate the over-sized volumes of her dresses.
The 2018 spring / summer collection, structured with a generous, impalpable silhouette, tells of a multifaceted, sensual, gentle but most likely sensual femininity. The collection, in September 2017, was exhibited at the Middle Temple in London.
Yves Saint Laurent (1936) is a French designer born in Oran in Algeria. He entered the fashion world officially in 1957, when, as the 21-year-old assistant to Christian Dior, he was asked to take over when the master died of a heart attack in a hotel in Italy.
The Trapeze collection established the young designer as the child prodigy of French haute couture, despite only just having graduated from the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture in Paris. He distinguished himself from his predecessor by the decisiveness of his sartorial cuts and by the soft but quintessential lines, which bore witness to his complete independence from the rest of the French fashion scene and his supreme individuality.
Saint Laurent On His Own
Yves Saint Laurent worked at Maison Dior until 1960 when was called up to do military service in Algeria. It is there that he learned, from his friend and future associate Pierre Bergé, the sad news that Christian Dior had replaced him with a new designer, Marc Bohan.
When he returned to Paris, he decided to set up on his own. With the help of Bergé and the financial backing of the American, J. Mack Robinson, he officially opened his studio in the Rue Spontini on 20 January 1962, and presented his first signed collection. His success was immediate. His designs were snapped up by France’s high society and by buyers from the American department stores, who appreciated the value of a line that was not overly elaborate but used well researched fabrics. Meanwhile, the fashion press acclaimed the impeccable cut of his suits, which became the only true rivals to Chanel’s style.
The next collections drew inspiration from history, art, and literature. It revealed the designer’s passion for the cultural world and, in particular, for the theater, for which he often designed costumes. In 1966, he introduced a women’s version of black tie for evening wear, a simple black outfit comprising a jacket with satin lapels and a skirt or pants, to be worn as an alternative to the traditional long dress.
The work of Matisse (1981), the paintings of Picasso (1979), Pop Art (1966) and even the writings of Marcel Proust, which prompted the taffeta dresses of Winter 1971-72 and offered him continuous sources of inspiration.
In 1965, minimalism and the geometrical works of Mondrian influenced one of his most successful collections, which is remembered for its rigorous lines, jersey dresses, and vinyl raincoats.
The collection of Winter 1976, dedicated to the Ballets Russes, won international acclaim and was said by the New York Times to be “revolutionary, destined to change the course of fashion.”
His exotic origins and the years of training spent in direct contact with the Arab world permeated his style. The strength and unusual combination of colors, the opulence of the fabrics, the richness of the embroidery, the inventiveness of his prints and some ethnically inspired garments. Such as the sahara jacket or djellaba, which were the hallmarks of his style, all the while combined with great formal rigour. Nor should not be forgotten Saint Laurent’s penchant, like that of Chanel before him, for putting tailored cuts and the main features of the male wardrobe into his womenswear collections.
In 1964 he created his women’s fragrance Y, the first in a successful series, which included the bestsellers YSL pour homme (1971), Rive Gauche (1971), Eau Libre(1975), Opium (1977) and Kouros (1981). In 1978 he lent his name to a range of beauty products, which added cosmetics to the brand and, in 1992, he chose French actress Catherine Deneuve, a client of his since the 1960s, as a face for his advertising campaign.
In 1966 Saint Laurent and Bergé were among the first to introduce a marketing strategy into the world of haute couture that has now become common, which was to establish the ready-to-wear line (Yves Saint-Laurent Rive Gauche) to be sold in franchised boutiques. From the beginning it was never intended as a substitute for haute couture, but as a field of great creativity, releasing original and sought-after designs into the market.
Production was entrusted to C. Mendès, a company that manufactured other ready-to-wear brands, such as Patou, Grès, and Chanel. The decision to enlist a single supplier to tailor the clothes, working exclusively for the brand, turned out to be a sign of great foresight, a move well ahead of its time. The success of 1970 made Yves Saint-Laurent Rive Gauche the leading exporter of luxury ready-to-wear womenswear.
In December 1982, the business expanded to create a second line, Variation. Sales increased as a result of granting licenses, which functioned in such a way to ensure that the Saint-Laurent colors, design, and image were respected. The main store at Rue Spontini became too small and Saint Laurent moved to 5 Avenue Marceau.
Museums throughout the world, from the Metropolitan in New York (1983) to the Musée des Arts de la Mode in Paris (1986), to the Sezon Museum of Art in Tokyo (1990), to the Musée de la Mode in Marseilles (1994) have dedicated retrospective exhibitions to the designer, celebrating his creativity and hailing him as one of the greatest ever contributors to the history of fashion. The Group was quoted on the Stock Exchange in Paris in 1989. Today the estate is owned by Franµois Pinault as part of the holding group PPR.
Saint Laurent Leaves
In 1999 Yves Saint Laurent was bought by the Gucci Group. In 2000, the creative director, Tom Ford, rejuvenated the company, brought back its ‘sex appeal’, and implemented the best marketing. But Saint Laurent and Bergé were not convinced, and both had some disagreements with Tom Ford.
Later in January 22, 2002 on the runway at the Centre Pompidou, Saint Laurent made his final exit from the fashion scene with an outstanding retrospective fashion show of 300 designs from the past and present. The atmosphere in the room was feverishly high, especially at the end when Catherine Deneuve sang for her lifelong friend Ma plus belle histoire d’amour c’est vous [You are my greatest love story]. Saint Laurent read out a long and personal farewell letter:
“I believe I have never betrayed the boy who showed his sketches to Christian Dior with the greatest of trepidation… I have lived for this job, have always loved it and respected it to the very end. Fashion is not art, but needs an artist to exist. Clothes are certainly less important than music, architecture, or painting, but they are what I knew how to do and did, perhaps contributing to the transformations that have taken place during my lifetime. Today, we no longer strive only to make women look more beautiful but also to reassure them. Many people exorcise the ghosts of their ego through fashion, whereas I have always wanted to put myself at the service of women, serving their bodies, their movements, their very lives.” About his life, the designer said, “I have known those false friends, drugs and tranquilisers, and the prison of depression and clinics. I belong to what Marcel Proust called ‘the magnificent and pitiful family of neurotics’.”
Tom Ford and Stefano Pilati
In June 2002 Stefano Pilati, a probable successor to Tom Ford, took over the complete creative direction of accessories and luggage. Pilato provided a completely new stylistic point of view; the excessive sensuality of his predecessor gave way to a more classic, discreet, and bourgeois elegance.
Later, in December with 850 square meters of floor space, the new Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche store that opened in Milan became the famous French label’s largest in Europe. The space at number 27 Via Montenapoleone (formerly Gucci) replaced the existing shop at number 8 Via Verri, which was in turn replaced by an Alexander McQueen boutique.
In December 2002 Saint Laurent and his right-hand man Pierre Bergé gained public interest and recognition for their Foundation which occupies the building in Avenue Marceau. From this point on, the designer focused on the activities of the Foundation, which houses 5,000 dresses and 15 objects from the private collections of Saint Laurent and Bergé. The Foundation awards study bursaries and organizes fashion and contemporary art exhibitions.
Ford decides to leave the company in 2004 and Stefano Pilati, who has worked with Ford for YSL since 2000, becomes his successor, becoming the new creative director. At first Pilati receives negative reviews, but then, thanks his interpretation of masculinity and femininity, he got the support of the fashion system.
In 2012 Hedi Slimane becomes the new creative director, leading the newly-named, Saint Laurent, label to a huge success. Slimane was also in charge for the exhibition, “Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective”, at the Museum of Art Denver (March 25-July 8, 2012). The exhibition was memorable, including all historical products, leading Bergé to declare “Yves Saint Laurent would be very proud to be here.”.
Hedi Slimane contributed remarkably to the Fashion House and surprised everyone when he decided to leave in March 2016. In April 2016 Yves Saint Laurent choose Anthony Vacarello as their new creative director, known for his talent and creative mind.
In Marrakech, the 4,000-square-metre building was designed by Studio KO, and is located near the famous Jardin Majorelle. The building holds exhibition spaces, an auditorium, a boutique, and an open-terrace café. Also, a research library that holds more than 5,000 books related to fashion, literature, poetry, history, botanics and Berber culture.
In September and October 2016 the Yves Saint Laurent museums in Paris and Marrakech opened. The museums are a tribute to the loved designer, Saint Laurent, who died in 2008, always in the spotlight and his well known companion Pierre Bergé. Sadly, Pierre Bergé, the brand’s former chief executive and key collaborator, died on September 8th at age 86 and was not able to see the final product.
In comparison, the very different in style newly unveiled Parisian museum is located in the hôtel particulier at 5 Avenue Marceau where Yves Saint Laurent spent nearly 30 years designing his collections from 1974 to 2002. A rotation of retrospective displays and temporary thematic exhibitions will be on display.
German fashion designer and entrepreneur, Jil Sander, was born in 1943 in Wesselburen, near Hamburg. Jil is methodical and creative, reserved and determined, fragile and energetic. She has built an empire in just a few years that was quoted on the stock market in 1989. With a diploma in textile engineering from Germany, she went to Los Angeles at age 19, where she completed her studies and had her first experience as a journalist in the editorial office of McCalls. Returning to Hamburg, she became fashion editor for Costanze and Petra and took on management responsibilities. As a freelance designer, she worked with a number of firms, among them, Callaghan.
Jil Sander Style
The most important representative of German fashion and one of the biggest names in international fashion, she has succeeded in creating a style that is intelligent, minimalist, and decidedly contemporary. “Strong and pure” are the adjectives that are often used to describe her designs. Considered the German Armani, her clothes are characterized by her use of neutral colors, purified lines, and full-bodied materials. Also, her cuts “made by the knife”, as she herself describes them, to create a femininity deprived of any frivolity, but not without a certain seductive austerity.
In 1968 she opened an avantgarde boutique in Hamburg, the first of its type, where she sold clothes that she designed alongside garments bought in Paris and Italy. Strengthened by this experience and with an ambitious project in mind, she opened Jil Sander Moden and presented her first real collection in 1973, with all her pieces in varying tones of khaki. She had a difficult start as a fashion designer wanting to create top quality modern clothes, but of too great an elegance to be produced in Germany, where luxury ready-to-wear was still unheard of. It was only natural that she found the necessary materials, firms, and people in Italy.
In 1975 she was in Paris where she presented two collections in successive seasons. Too purist for French taste, her runway shows were a flop. As a result, she was forced to move to Milan, a city which is more austere and therefore more in tune with her own personality.
The first Italian presentations were quite affairs reserved for just a few people, but the important buyers took note and were soon fighting for an exclusive deal over her work. Her designs for intelligent, independent, business-like women were very popular:
“The women who I think about when I am designing are very self-aware and full of self-respect,” she says.
Success came quickly and the purity of her designs, her constant research into materials, and her obsession with quality were all prized. In 1979 she launched Woman Pure, her first perfume, with an advertising campaign built around her own serene, fair and delicate features, ensuring herself instantaneous fame and creating a new stereotype for German women.
Her international reputation was confirmed in the following years as her business activities developed and moved into cosmetics, eyewear, leatherwear, and menswear that she showed in Milan in 1996. She has received numerous awards and prizes for her fashions and perfumes. With a passionate interest in contemporary art, she is a discerning collector and a generous sponsor of exhibitions of leading German artists such as Georg Baselitz and Joseph Beuys.
Jil Sander Acquired By Prada Group
From Fall 1999, the Jil Sander label was part of the Prada Group. For 2001 the brand establish a record sales, with a 17% rise in profits. Unfortunately, in 2002 the brand lost 26 million euros, in part of the costs of adding retail stores in London and New York. The number of own-brand shops throughout the world rose to 20.
By May 2003 the Prada group thinks of saving the destiny of the company by calling back Jil Sander as head of the creative team. Bertelli “approached Ms. Sander and began negotiating a truce”. Rehired under a six-year consulting contract with an undisclosed stake in the company. Jil Sander returned to the company she founded, which had been controlled by the Prada Group since 1999.
However in July 2005, the creative director Belgian designer, Raf Simons took over Jil Sander after the umpteenth split with the Prada group, Simons will come to the brand to give it a particular international touch, much less rigid, by means of patterns and colours, new shapes and details.
In 2006 Prada declares it has sold it shares to Change Capital that is a specialist private equity firm founded by Luc Vandevelde, focus on consumer related businesses. Then, two years later in September 2008, Change Capital sold Jil sander to Onward Holding Co., Ltd, A Tokyo-listed apparel group and its European subsidiary, GIBO’ Co. S.p.A for a equity value of €167 million.
In 2009, Sander announced the creation of her own fashion consultancy having Uniqlo as their first client, where she overseeing the design for womenswear and menswear collection called J+. The line was launched throughout Asia including Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China and on 7 January 2010 in the London stores. It is to be launched in Uniqlo’s sole US store in New York city on 14 January 2010.
In 2010 Sander decides to expand the brand and launch a new collection line called Jil Sander Navy, establishing a new branch for the a younger customers, completing the aesthetic world of the Jil Sander brand and its design philosophy of pure, essential and innovative luxury. This brand extension add a sophisticated casual and dynamic attitude to the house. A focus on innovative quality cotton, techno fabrics, jerseys and knitwear.
After Raf Simons presented the Fall 2012 collection, he announced his departure from the Milan based company welcoming Rodolfo Paglialunga, who will arrive to give an Italian detailed accuracy to brand. A year later, in October 2013, 69 years old Jil Sander left her label for the third time. She presented her last spring/summer 2014 collection during Milan fashion Week.
The Spring/Summer 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection, designed by Rodolfo Paglialunga, according to Vogue Tim Blanks it was a “coalescence of genders. There were fit issues throughout. Clunk was probably the best word for the drop-crotch culottes with the out-of-reach pockets. Same with the apron/skirt wrapped over whatever was underneath it, meaning that there was odd bunching when what was underneath had an elasticized waistband.”
After almost four years Pagilalunga, creative director, announces his retirement from the brand in March 2017. In April 2017, Lucie and Luke Meier, a husband and wife duo who have designed everywhere from Dior Haute Couture to Supreme, are named the new creative directors of the brand. The designers possess an intimate connection and a deep understanding. Their first collection is Resort 2018, which is a steady solid start for the duo. The collection was full of their aesthetics including elegance and purity made for fast paced city living.
“They hold a vision that is modern, cohesive, and in touch with what is relevant now, and they beautifully combine it with a subtle sensibility. I expect the creation of very clever collections and a world to be inspired by,” said Jil Sander CEO Alessandra Bettari.
Paul Smith (1946) is an English tailor and designer. The first thing he sold was a pocket handkerchief with the British flag. Today, in the stores, everything is from robots to ties. He is always unconventional. It has transformed the tailoring into an explosion of colors, inventions, fashion trends combined with the oldest quality of fabrics. He still has the spirit of a twenty-something, cutting-edge designer, which is why he continues to ride the crest of the wave.
His clothes are like his personality: amusing and serious at the same time, eccentric but wearable. He opened a multi-brand shop in Nottingham in 1970, and nine years later opened his first proper shop, revolutionizing the concept of selling space, which from then on was no longer just the space used for the display of goods, but a meeting point for anyone interested in style.
His first menswear fashion show was in 1976 in Paris. From that point on the label has grown from strength to strength. The brand’s reputation has never ceased to grow. He has also been asked to be a consultant to the Prime Minister Tony Blair.
You Can Find Inspiration in Everything (and if you cannot, look again!)
In February 2001, Paul Smith joined The Queen on the Birthday Honors List, an acknowledgment of his contribution to British fashion. Later, in November he published You can get inspiration from anything (and if you cannot, look again!). It is not a fashion monograph, nor a clothing catalog, but a collection of images where the author is portrayed in the most diverse situations. The volume, 288 pages, was edited by Alan Aboud who has co-authored the author as an art director for more than ten years. The project was also signed by Jonathan Ive (iMac designer). At the same time, he opened a shop in London at the Royal Exchange.
Paul Smith in Milan
In March 2002, Paul Smith opened his first single store in Italy, via Manzoni in Milan. The project is by Sophie Hicks. Then, the first men’s shoe store was opened in Paris. The following month, in collaboration with Cappellini, the Mondo furniture collection will be launched during the Milan Furniture Show.
During the same period, the designer organized Great Brits, an exhibition that pays homage to the greatest British designers. The exhibition was held in his own studio in Milan at Viale Umbria 95. The designer chose four young names: D. Mathias Bengtsson, Tord Boontje, Daniel Brown, and Sam Buxton.
In 2003, after the enormous success achieved with the first collaboration, Reebok commissioned the designer to create a new collection of 80’s men-women shoes, named after Paul Smith, Reebok 2. The materials are mainly orange and blue nylon and real red and blue leather. Exclusively worldwide, only in the stores of Paul Smith (around 250 worldwide) you can buy the first book written by David Bowie at the “modest” sum of £ 295, Moonage Daydream: the truth behind Ziggy. Each of the 2500 numbered copies is autographed.
Boutiques and Iconic Stripes
In February 2005 he opened his first shop for the Pink line in the Daikanyama district of Tokyo. The flagship store measures 120 square meters and is entirely for womenswear and accessories. It is called Paul Smith Pink+. Then, in March he released the Black collection, following an earlier Blue version, the second official women’s line to be found in department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Harrods, and Selfridges.
Paul Smith boutiques are known for a distinguished playful design. Every boutique is designed and decorated differently, but all are full of color and character, mirroring his personality. This concept reflects his unconventional design.
In 2006, with the intention of using it only for a season, the stylist launches the iconic signature of Paul Smith Stripes. There are not many styles that can be worn either by a two year old girl, or a 35-year-old man. The stripes are perhaps the only candidate. The rows have the power to make a highly distinguishable surface, which, speaking of clothes, explains why they have never been kept in great care.
The Recent Year’s
In 2009 Paul Smith made a collection of bike clothes in association with Rapha. In this period, he opened stores in Dubai, Bangalore, Leeds, Antwerp, Los Angeles, and London.
In mid-November 2013 the company celebrated their 40th anniversary in the fashion world at the London Design Museum with the exhibition Hello, My Name is Paul Smith. The goal is to explore all aspects of the designer’s career, including future development. Accurate reproduction of Paul Smith’s studio, as well as an immersive installation, reveal some of his inspirations. The exhibition is a real journey through its collections, a day in the life of a parade and collaborations with other brands.
In 2017, in Florence, Paul Smith lit a fluorescent light in his youth line, PS by Paul Smith, and re-launched with a focus on basic clothes. The designer argues that the cornerstone of his business is the basis:
“Well done, of good quality, simple cut, made with special fabrics and easy to wear.”
Paul Smith has not presented his collection to Pitti Man for 23 years, but has considered Pitti Uomo 91 the right occasion to present his new collection. The latter translates his attitudes towards classic and bizarre in terms related to the new generations.
Consultancy firm founded in Paris at the end of the 1980s by Dutchman Lidewij Edelkoort. Through the work of the Trend Union team, he predicts trends, colors, and materials in fashion, cosmetics, and furnishings by analysing developments in society and consumer trends. He publishes books of trends and perfects his predictions by tailoring them to suit the requirements of each client. He also responds to enquiries deep into the future: looking 3 to 10 years ahead. In 1987, he predicted the fashion for cycling shorts in the female wardrobe, which happened in 1990, when the English designer Liza Bruce launched them. The Studio has a publishing house which prints the weekly View of Color and Interior View.
Especially famous was the classic black tapered sheath dress, introduced by Chanel and called the petit noir, an emblem of the 1920s. With straight lines, sleeveless, the sheath dress became a protagonist again in the early 1960s, indispensable for afternoon wear or for dinner invitations, but also as an all-purpose outfit for various occasions. Often worn with a coordinate jacket.
In 1800 it was observed that “fashion can be particularly recognized by its sleeves.” In the mid-twentieth century, it was reiterated that “the clothing revolution starts with sleeves.” This “part of male and female garments that covers the arm,” long, short, three-quarter length, fitted, full, raglan, kimono, bell-shaped, round, puffed, ruffled — whose “insertion” has always represented a challenge and a delight for tailors — has, without doubt, played a very important role in the history of clothing. Its most ungenerous reincarnation was the half-length variety, or rather the type of cloth sleeve that covered only the upper arm. The sleeve has inspired popular sayings such as “roll up your sleeves” or “an ace up your sleeve.” It went through particularly glorious periods in previous centuries, especially in male fashions. For example, consider the opulence, luxury, and originality of the sleeves of the various Henri and Louis (kings and emperors) to confirm its importance. However, with the end of the Napoleonic empire, men’s fashions — following the more sober and elegant English style and later adopting the straight cut jacket — became simpler. In fact, there have been very few “revolutions” or variations in coat and jacket sleeves (mostly round or raglan) during the twentieth century, with the exception of a few evening shirts, with simple or double cuffs, sometimes pleated or with lace, another example of returning fashions. In women’s fashions, sleeves have been made of fabric or fur, decorated with lace, embroidery, stones, or pearls, and enjoyed periods of particular prominence, for example when they were worn in the style of the Amadis, the Venetians, Louis XIII, nuns, priests, sailors, Turks, Bedouins, Persians, gardeners or shepherdess style (the “petite bergère”), in the Sévigné and Du Barry style, puff sleeves or ruffled sleeves, as seen in the portraits of girls and women at the coronation of Napoleon or the Empress Eugènie with her ladies-in-waiting, or women painted by Boldini. And they resurfaced in some collections, especially haute couture ones, in evening clothes or garments for all occasions, from the start of the twentieth century until today. At the end of the 1940s, for example, sleeves were long and close-fitting, with a high, turned back, double cuff or, “handkerchief” sleeves, particularly at the elbow, for Christian Dior; bell-shaped to the elbow, over long sleeves edged with fur for Balmain; with high lace cuffs for Fath; round and “falling” with a small double cuff for Rochas; draped from the shoulders and completed with small cuffs embroidered with stones for Grés; very full, puffed, with a ruffled cuff for Schiaparelli; and very large, cloak sleeves, cut in a single piece together with the bodice for the great Balenciaga. Subsequent generations of designers created sleeves that were attached down to the waistline, three-quarter length with incrustations of lace or velvet, with small buttons up to the elbow, with little cuffs with triple bands of ruffled lace or embroidered using the English stitch. These were sleeves that became more and more essential, apart from when they were omitted altogether or substituted by little shoulder straps, even when the arms revealed beneath were not always suitable.
Ferdinando (1912-1982). Italian fashion creator. He left an important job in the Vatican for a brief appearance in the world of cinema (in 1950, he was one of the three main actors — with Lucia Bosé and Massimo Girotti — in Antonioni’s Cronaca di un amore) and then concentrated on fashion at the insistent request of Elizabeth Arden, who by chance, having met him at a reception, heard him talking about clothes, accessories, and make-up. He began in New York. His name is associated with “the most beautiful evening dresses in the world,” as Diana Vreeland wrote. He won the Neiman Marcus prize.
The tsarina of furs. The Siberian people paid the iassak, the tax that ended up in the tsar’s personal coffers, in sable. The Monomachus’s crown, called a chapka and made of gold filigree over a gold base studded with precious stones and pearls, was trimmed with sable; sable also adorned the sumptuous jewel-encrusted cloak that the tsar wore for official ceremonies. Every possible eulogistic adjective or expression has been used to describe the magnificence of sable, and the French even compare it to a fluffy “mousse.” It has even been suggested that the Golden Fleece sought by Jason and the Argonauts in Greek mythology, which was guarded by a dragon in the depths of a forest in Kolchis (today the country of Georgia), was in fact sable. Long before the discovery of oil, it was universally considered black gold. Despite the presence of sable in Asia, North America, and Europe, the history of the fur runs hand-in-hand with that of Siberia. In that unbounded empty land it played the same role as gold in the Gold Fever in Canada and Alaska. The poor animals were the object of such indiscriminate hunting that at the beginning of the 20th century it had disappeared from vast regions of the Russian empire and the Tsarist and then the Soviet governments had to take protective measures. Russian sable (Martes zibellina) has thick, shiny, silky fur in a myriad of hues from brown to light beige, to almost white. It is undisputed that the best is the Barguzinsky, named after the region of Barguin, near Lake Baikal. Breeding, which started in the Soviet Union in 1931, focuses on dark colors, but Nature has created the Royal sable, by transforming an anomaly into a virtue: in the Royal sable, a lack of pigmentation in the tips of the fur creates an incredible silvery sheen that brings an extraordinary beauty to its appearance. Sable is as precious today as it was in the past, when it was part of the Tsars’ Great Treasure. When the Russian aristocracy fled the country, they took with them sable pelts, not money.