Germana (1905-1983). Designer and tailor, predating the period when Italian fashion broke free from the French idiom. Growing up, like Elsa Schiaparelli, surrounded by Florence’s history of art, she was one of the few designers and seamstresses to understand the importance of the relationship between fashion and art. Her name featured large among the group of designers invited to the first “made in Italy” runway show organized by Bista Giorgini in Florence during the winter of 1951. As a participant, Marucelli already had a long and successful tailoring experience behind her. Her Milanese atelier was famous, even more so because she had transformed it into an artistic and literary salon that was attended on Thursdays by poets such as Quasimodo and Montale, and the best intellects of the time: for instance, versatile and brilliant architects such as Gio Ponti, and the artists Savinio, Casorati, Gentilini, and Campigli. The latter painted her portrait in 1950. It shows a woman with a warrior’s profile, her hair in a large, severe bun, just as she was in real life, convinced of her own ideas and impervious to the changing currents of fashion as spectacle. She continued a family tradition: her mother was a tailor at Settignano and her aunt Failla was a famous tailor in Florence. Germana frequented the workshops of both relatives. Later she became a pattern maker: she purchased patterns and fabrics from Paris to sell them on to Italian tailors’ workshops. She had a formidable eye and memory, so that she was able to half-buy, half-copy. Maria Pezzi, in her autobiography Una vita dentro la moda, written with Guido Vergani, related that, “one day, Germana visited her most important client, the Milanese tailor Ventura, to offer him some French designs. Madame Hannà, the fearsome director of the salon, took one out of the case, counted the small plissé pleats, and asked: ‘But did you buy this or copy it? This dress is already one of our exclusive models.’ She confessed that she had copied it from memory. Hannà thundered: ‘I would tell the police, if you were not so good. It’s a perfect copy’.” She moved to Milan in 1938, after having run the Gastaldi workshop in Genoa, where she opened a small atelier in Via Borgospesso, but she had to leave it during the war because of the bombing. She returned in 1945 and established further her personal vision of clothing (she considered it to be a form of architecture, a hand-created space, a form of painting for its color and of sculpture for its form) in harmony with the female form. In 1947, with perfect intuition, she anticipated the New Look, which Fath and Dior were developing and, later, with the Pannocchia line, the Parisian sack. Helped by the businessman, Franco Marinotti, the founder of Snia Viscosa, she purchased the building (in Corso Venezia) and archive of the historic Ventura house. During this period she collaborated with various artists, such as the abstract artist Capogrossi, Piero Zuffi, and Getulio Alviani, whose cine-visual experiments inspired her to design clothes integrating breast-plates and shields made of light aluminum, ahead of Paco Rabanne’s inventions. These were working alliances as well as inspirational ones: producing textile designs and garment prototypes. Every collection embodied elements from Renaissance and avant-garde art: the Impero line (1951) looked to Botticelli, Fraticello was inspired by Fra Angelico’s delicate color palette; in 1968 Manzù inspired the Vescovo line, while the designs and line of the Astratta collection were reminiscent of Picasso and Mirò. Few designers had her ability to create following a single inspiration that intertwined thought with an aesthetic message, set in a climate of intellectual research. During the 1970s, when Milan became the capital of prêt-à-porter, her ever unique creativity possessed a solitary elitism even though she enjoyed fame on both sides of the Atlantic. Her inspiration was too pure for the ever-changing rhythm of the runways and broader consumption. However, she continued to produce work following her own vision up until her death.