While the city, suffering from the effects of the war, starts on the road of reconstruction by entrusting itself to its artistic heritage and to the thousands of shops that open on its narrow streets, Giovanni Battista Giorgini planned his great dream: to create and export Italian Fashion.
First of all, the fashion houses had to come out from their isolation and be convinced to take a risk together.
This Florentine gentleman, already active with his buying office since 1923, knew the American market very well.
He also knew that manual ability alone was not sufficient to accomplish this goal; high quality in the products and new ideas were also necessary.
The self-set task of Giorgini, expert of art and collector of antiques was based on a simple idea: to stimulate our best craftsmen to get inspiration from the Renaissance tradition while emphasizing the typical features of that period: good taste, creativity, joy of living.
Therefore, at the beginning of February 1951, on the invitation to a soirée in his beautiful residence in Via dei Serragli, there was a Sixteen Century portrait of a Lady with the message "The purpose of this evening is to give importance to our Fashion. The ladies are kindly requested to wear dresses of pure Italian inspiration".
In the ballroom, dresses of the most important Italian ateliers of that period were presented on a single catwalk.
There, that evening, names like Emilio Pucci or Schubert began their careers. Each model appeared holding a number in her hand so that the buyers could identify each dress.
These unpublished photos of that evening, from the private archives of the Giorgini family, are the documents of the first steps of what became the most visible phenomenon in the economic and artistic development of the Italian post-war period.
Fresh from the Paris fashion shows, a few buyers of the most important North American companies, I. Magnin, B. Altman, Bergdorf Goodman, Henry Morgan and some journalists, among them, the "Womens Wear Daily" correspondent, were present.
It was the "gotha" of the worldwide fashion. Giorgini had been worried fearing the comparison with the Paris shows.
What happened instead was an immediate success that exceeded the best expectations. The buyers asked their stores to send more funds and the ateliers were submerged with orders.
In July 51, for the second show where 600 dresses were presented, Giorgini obtained the use the Grand Hotel; and then in July 1952, the use of the splendid Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti was permitted. From the Sala Bianca, Capucci, Valentino, Armani and many others got their start.
Also in 1952, the first man appeared on a runway.
He did not appear alone, but was accompanied by one of the female models.
He wore a suit designed by Brioni. Later on, spaces for children fashion, intimate apparel, and fabrics were created.
The road to Italian Fashion was laid. In the 60s Giorgini opens the way to Ready-to-Wear, trusting in the potential of an area where colors, design and care of the details are to become an Italian symbol.
Twice a year, Florence became the capital of good taste attracting to the banks of the Arno River not only hundreds of buyers and journalists, but even Hollywoods famous actors and international high society.
Giorginis direction lasted for 15 years until 1965 when his mandate ended.
To this day, his dream is still a great reality that continues to astonish, to fascinate and to generate wealth.
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