Rosa (1867-1954). Italian dressmaker. Already called, in 1907, “the inventor of Italian fashion” by the most influential newspapers of the time, she was certainly one of the most important personalities in Italian fashion in the early 1900s. She was born in the province of Sondrio. After long apprenticeships in Milan, Nice, and Paris, she returned to Milan with the sought-after qualification of a première. In 1895, she found a job with the atelier H. Haardt et Fils, one of the most prestigious fashion houses in Milan, with branch offices in San Remo, Lucerne, and St. Moritz. From the beginning of her career, she was committed to the cause of social protest against the exploitation of women, taking part, together with Anna Maria Mozzoni, in the International Congress of Zurich in 1893 and actively participating in the Socialist Women’s Movement that was headed by Abigaille Zanetta. She soon entered the circle of Anna Kuliscioff, the companion of Andrea Costa and later of Filippo Turati. She and Anna became friends and Anna would wear her modern and simple tailored suits, helping to promote them. In 1903, she became director of Casa Haardt, but soon rebelled against the established custom of copying French models for the rich bourgeoisie, the aristocracy of Lombardy, and decided to promote a clothing line in “pure Italian style.” Starting in 1905, she taught History of Costume at the Professional Women’s School of the Humanitarian Society of Milan, where she soon became director of the dressmaking department. On the prestigious pages of Marzocco, Vita d’Arte, and Vita Femminile, she wrote that the process of emancipation requires at the same time better education of the workers, the rationalization and simplification of the women’s wardrobe, and its formal freedom from French models. At the Milan International Exposition of 1906, she proposed a group of models inspired by the work of famous Italian Renaissance artists, showing how it is possible to obtain numerous ideas from the great national artistic heritage. Two of these great designs, the celebrated dancing dress inspired by Botticelli’s Primavera and the court mantle inspired by a drawing by Pisanello, are kept in the Costume Gallery in Florence. This experiment allowed her to win the Grand Prix awarded by the jury in the Decorative Arts section of the Exposition. Through her study of the sculpture and painting of classical antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the 1400s and 1500s, she revolutionized the field of clothing decoration, introducing three-dimensional naturalistic embroidery never experimented with in fashion before. In June 1908, she presented her Italian fashion solutions in the theater with the help of Lyda Borelli, an enthusiast supporter who wore some of her “revisitations” of antique designs. In that same year, in Rome, she participated in the first Congress of Italian Women, and gave a report about the relationships between fashion and the decorative arts. Due to her work, the first organizing committee for Fashion of Pure Italian Art, led by Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone and supported by Franca Florio, was created in 1909. The following year, in the pages of Vita d’Arte, she promoted the National Contest for a Woman’s Evening Dress, which aimed to establish and support the independent creativity of Italian dressmaking shops. Her success was at its peak between 1908 and 1912, years in which the New York Herald also popularized her designs. During World War I, she intensified her humanitarian activity to the detriment of her fashion business, even though she decided to publish Storia della Moda attraverso i secoli (‘A History of Fashion Through the Centuries’) in three volumes, of which only the first was published, in 1925. In 1928 she was forced to abandon her profession because of her open anti-Fascist beliefs. She died in Milan in 1954.