Italian Dressing: WWD’s coverage of Italian fashion began on April 19, 1926. The catalyst: None other than Benito Mussolini, who had just launched his Pride-in-Appearance and Pride-in-Industry movements in Italy.
“The consumer press nearly always has considered it humorous to ridicule the clothes idea,” WWD wrote, “not so Mussolini, for it has been evident…how much weight this dynamic personality places on the power of appearance, of space, beauty, toward enthusing and uplifting the people of the nation.”
The dictator was also determined to set a standard for la moda italiana and held a contest, judged by Queen Helen of Montenegro, among Italian designers to settle the matter. The winning sketches made the front page of the paper on August 23, 1926. The dress on the left was called “Boniface the Eighth” and the one on the right, “Monna Vanna.”