SPELLING ITALIAN FASHION: Readying for the debut of the video series “Italian Fashion From A to Z,” writer Grazia D’Annunzio wants viewers to remember that fashion is serious, not frivolous.
Produced by Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at New York University, the series features videos dedicated to famous Italian designers and brands. It also highlights the roots of the made in Italy initiative, with a look at the pioneers as well as emerging talents. Starting on Tuesday, a new episode will be released every Tuesday on YouTube and on Casa Italiana’s site.
D’Annunzio, who is a journalism professor at the Universita Statale di Milano, cooked up the idea for “a simple dictionary for fashion” that is geared toward students and people who are interested in fashion. She started working on it during the pandemic in 2020. “It took me a couple of years to finish it because fashion is a living creature. Sometimes you have to polish everything and update it. Hopefully, everything will be good until January. We will see if we have to change anything after the new year,” she said. D’Annunzio will chat with Casa Italiana director Stefano Albertini about the series at a special event Monday night.
Alphabetizing Italian fashion wasn’t a snap, considering the challenges of the letters “X,” “W” and “Z,” she said. Each letter is linked to an adjective that is linked to a designer or group of designers with the aim being to present the major Italian designers, forgotten but important ones, and founders of Italian fashion of the 20th and 21st centuries. Armani, Versace, Prada, Ferré, Dolce & Gabbana, Max Mara and all the big names made the cut.
“But you can’t forget the beginning of Italian fashion,” the filmmaker said. “It didn’t start with Armani, Missoni or even Walter Albini. It was in the early 1950s in Florence. Giovanni Battista Giorgini, an aristocrat and Italian entrepreneur, who is considered the founder of Italian fashion put together a group of Italian designers — Emilio Pucci, the lesser-known Germana Marucelli and others to show in Florence.”
Each episode in the A to Z series will range from three to 15 minutes long and will provide students with a glimpse of the beauty and talent in Italian design in different forms.
“Italy is famous for great craftsmanship, great attention to details and high quality. All of the designers I am going to present are famous for their exquisite taste, great fabrics, embroidery and craftsmanship,” D’Annunzio said.
With the YouTube series good to go, D’Annunzio is working on a book written in Italian about fashion and film and continues to teach in Milan. She is also crafting a Zoom conference with a University of Bologna colleague about Italian fashion in the U.S. that will debut next fall with international scholars.
“Italian fashion is growing immensely with young designers that are very Gen Z,” she said.
Partial as she is to Italian designers, the New York-based D’Annunzio, who worked as Vogue Italia’s special projects editor in the U.S. from 1995 to 2016, said she wears Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and other American designers, too. “Living here in New York, you have to have a ‘metropolitan look.’ When I came here in the ’90s, Calvin, Donna, Ralph and Isaac Mizrahi were so hot that having a piece of that made me — not look like — but feel part of the bigger community,” she said. “But I like Italian fashion, yes.”