Top 10 Italian fashion houses

Italian fashion designers have long been admired for their style, and many of the biggest and best-known fashion houses are Italian. Italy is still one of the main hubs of the fashion world and the Italian fashion houses have been bringing us unique and brilliant designs for many years. There are, in fact, too many Italian fashion houses to list here but here is a top ten of the most influential Italian fashion houses.

1. Versace

Versace was founded by Gianni Versace in 1978. Versace became internationally recognised when Elizabeth Hurley wore “That Dress” at premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994. The brand also made the news again, when Jennifer Lopez wore the green Versace silk chiffon at the Grammy awards in 2000. Versace are now a household name and are well known for celebrating the female body, rather than hiding it.

2. Fendi

Fendi was originally a fur and leather shop in Rome. It was founded by Edoardo and Adele Fendi in 1925 and then it grew to become the well-known fashion house. Today, Fendi still produces leather goods and fur, but they also design fragrances eyewear, accessories and timepieces and they have nearly 200 stores worldwide.

3. Biagiotti

The founder of The House of Biagiotti, now one of the largest fashion houses in Italy, was Laura Biagiotti. Originally, she intended to be an archaeologist, but when she started to help out in the family dressmaking business, she got hooked on fashion instead. As well as a full range of clothes and accessories, Laura Biagiotti fragrances, such as Aqua di Roma, are worldwide bestsellers.

4. Valentino

In the 1960s, Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani was the undisputed king of fashion. His interest in fashion started at a very young age when he was still in primary school. With the help of his mother and father, he pursued his interest and went on to study his passion in Paris. Valentino retired in 2007, but the fashion house that he created, Valentino SpA, is still going strong.

5. Prada

Prada, which was founded by Mario Prada and his brother Martino in 1913, began as a leather goods shop in Milan. Interestingly, Mario Prada didn’t believe that women should work in business, but it was his own daughter, Luisa Prada, and later his granddaughter, Miuccia Prada, who ran the business following Mario Prada’s death in 1952. It has been Prada’s originality through the years that has made it one of the world’s most influential fashion houses.

6. Dolce & Gabbana

Designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce joined forces in 1985 to form the Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana. Initially, when the two designer’s first started working together, they sent separate invoices for the freelance work that they did. The joint brand of Dolce & Gabbana was only invented when their accountant told them that it would be easier to do the accounts if they worked together under one name. D&G is now one of the most successful Italian fashion houses in existence.

7. Armani

Giorgio Armani is one of the true legends of Italian design and the Armani Brand is one the fastest growing in the world. Giorgio Armani formed his company in 1975 and, in the 1980s, it was his designs for Hollywood celebrities that propelled him to international fame. Armani has stayed at the top of the game ever since and was one of the first fashion designers to move away from using overly thin models to display his collections.

8. Gucci

The house of Gucci was founded in Florence in 1921 by fashion designer Guccio Gucci. The brand began as a smaller leather store and expensed when Gucci turned his hand to leather bags and designing clothing. Gucci is now the biggest selling Italian brand, it operates 278 of its own stores, and it generates an annual turnover of almost $5 billion.

9. Max Mara

Max Mara is the fashion house that was formed by Achille Maramotti in 1951. Maramotti was one of the first people to realise that modern manufacturing techniques could deliver ready-to-wear designer clothing to the general public. The company is still privately owned by the Maramotti family and now has over 2,000 stores, all around the world.

10. Etro

Another one of the great Italian fashion houses that has remained a family business is Etro, which was found by Gerolamo “Gimmo” Etro in 1968. Famous for their use of the Paisley pattern, Etro now has a men’s and women’s range of clothing and they also offer accessories and fragrances. Over the years, Etro has also become famous for its unique conceptual shows, one of which had their guests riding on a steam train through Milan while the models walked up and down the carriages.

What are your favourite Italian fashion houses?

Stay beautiful!

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