In fashion there is one simple rule: what’s hot is what’s Italian. Italy is the trendsetter for the world in luxury fashion, and luxury of course sets the pace for trends in fast-fashion and mid-markets. Why is this?
Italy has some strong fashion peers, France and England among them, but no other country besides Italy has such a long-enduring and widespread tradition of making beautiful designs with the utmost attention to craftsmanship. Secret techniques have been passed down from artisan to artisan over many generations in Italy. Italian designers are immersed in this craftsman culture and it informs their designs and shapes their careers. It is important to understand that it is this craftsman’s history alive today on the Italian runways when you see a breathtaking innovative couture collection in Milan.
Also, it is important to remember that Italian fashion designers, from the day they are born, are surrounded by some of the most beautifully accomplished art and architecture in the Western world. For example, in one afternoon a Roman designer can take a walk and experience the architecture of the Pantheon and Coliseum, the sculptures of Bernini in the piazzas, and the paintings of Caravaggio in the churches and museums. A Florentine designer can similarly enjoy the works of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. It is no accident that Valentino and Bulgari produce bold beautiful designs in true Roman fashion and that Ferragamo translates the elegance of Florence in every shoe it makes.
This “culture of art” without question inspires and influences designs in Italian fashion; no other country can compare to Italy in offering such an abundance of creative cultural artifact. In fact, of all countries Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and this small nation is also home to more than half of the entire Western world’s great art treasures. If you are curious about how Italy is interpreting and reinventing its rich culture of art and artisan history today, you need look no further than the fashion runways.