First off, we are well aware that most, if not all of the brands featured in this article are quite pricey and not what many would consider everyday wear. However, (bear with us here) in paying for clothes, jewelry, bags, or accessories from Italian fashion houses, you’re often shelling out money not just for the item, but for the illustrious history behind it. So where are your euros going? Find out in Panrimo’s:
Top 7 Italian Fashion Houses
Founded by Guccio Gucci in 1921 in Florence, Gucci started as a saddlery and leather company which can be denoted by its icons – saddle bit and green-red-green (which was used during horse races to determine which saddle belong to which owner). Gucci has an official partnership with UNICEF and has contributed over $7 million to its children campaign. Gucci’s notable creative directors include Tom Ford and current director, Frida Giannini.
Established in 1913 by Mario Prada in Milan, Prada started as a leather goods store that sold English steamer trunks and handbags. Prada now dabbles in ready-to-wear, jewelry and wine – among other lines. Once a supplier to the Italian Royal Family, Prada now owns such labels as Miu Miu (named after Miuccia Prada) and Luna Rossa.
Adele and Edoardo Fendi founded Fendi in 1925 in Rome. Specializing in leather goods, fragrances and eyewear, Fendi is most known for its “baguette” handbag (pictured above). Fendi is owned by LVMH (Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennessey) and its current creative director is, often-criticized, Karl Lagerfeld.
Founded in 1966 by Vittorio and Laura Moltedo in Venice, Bottega is known for its leather goods – more specifically its woven leather. Andy Warhol was a big fan of Bottega and made a film for them in the 1980s. The brand is also very outspoken for not needing initials in its branding – like that of Louis Vuitton and Gucci. In fact, its slogan is, “When your own initials are enough.” Bottega Veneta is owned by Gucci Group and its current creative directors are Tomas Maier and Marco Bizzarri.
Established in Milan as a fashion and leisure company by Giorgio Armani in 1975, Armani has the broadest portfolio of any Italian fashion house. Meaning, they have diversified into luxury hotels and resorts, cafes, bars and nightclubs. Some of its best known labels include Black Label, Emporio Armani and A/X (Armani Exchange). Portuguese football star, Cristiano Ronaldo, American singer, Rihanna and tennis star, Rafael Nadal are the faces of Armani’s ad campaigns.
Valentino Garavani opened his first fashion house on Via Condotti in Rome in 1965 and is best known for its handbags, ready-to-wear and eyewear. Valentino has been personally linked to Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Andy Warhol as close companions. Now headquartered in Milan, Valentino has had such extraordinary creative directors such as Maria Grazia, Pier Paolo Piccioli and Alessandra Facchinetti.
Founded by Gianni Versace in 1978, Versace opened its first boutique in Milan on the famous Via della Spiga and has been a symbol of intrigue and dysfunction for years. Behind intra-family ownership, mistrust and murder, there is something so remarkable about the label. Known for its ready-to-wear, eyewear and couture collections, it’s hard to look past the ever-present Donatella Versace and the “face” of the company (pun intended). Some of Versace’s best known fans range from Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG to Beyonce, J.Lo and Princess Diana.