On the evening of February 12 1951 a handful of respected buyers and fashion editors from America gathered in Florence at Villa Torrigiani, the palatial home of Giovanni Battista Giorgini. In the elegant white drawing room he and his wife, Nella, and their daughter, Matilde – both dressed in the designs of the young Roman couturier Roberto Capucci – played host, with their guests keen to see the latest fashions by a small group of Italian designers and boutique owners. They included the local Florentine designer Emilio Pucci, who had a boutique in Canzone del Mare on the island of Capri selling beachwear, as well as the already well-established couturier Simonetta Visconti and the wonderfully theatrical Emilio Schuberth, both based in Rome.
That first show was an intimate affair but proved to be a historic occasion for Italian fashion. Three seasons later, Giorgini’s cosy salon show with a small handful of models had relocated to the splendid Sala Bianca ballroom at the 15th-century Palazzo Pitti with a guest list of 300. Fashion “made in Italy” had become a force to be reckoned with.
Photo Courtesy Archivio Giorgini – A fashion show on the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 1954