Friday, 15 October 2010

ahead of his times

Cole of California collection press release, 1967

Italian fashion owes a lot to Walter Albini, one of the first 
designers who lifted it up to international level. Albini, 
born in 1941, departed in 1983, played a leading role as 
the designer who influenced and shaped fashion during 
the 60's and 70's opening the way to success for 
the Made in Italy prêt-à-porter.

Advertising illustrations for Vogue Italia, 1971

He actually changed the relationship between styling 
and industry mating design with product.
The only male student in Turin's Art of Design Institute, 
he was later on seducted by the aesthetic reactivity of Paris 
where he met Coco Chanel before coming back to Italy 
with clear-cut ideas.

Vogue Italia, 1971

Albini had a unique drawing talent inspired by the 20's 
and 30's style, mainly by Vogue's illustrator Benito, la belle 
époque of fashion, the most creative period in which 
elegance was born. Indian ink made, his drawings stood 
out for the inner sense of beauty and their classic style. 
Hairstyles and makeup, accessories, the different pieces 
of each outfit are all clearly defined in his hand 
designs as well in captions he used to precisely show 
what he wanted to be produced.

Advertising illustrations for Vogue Italia, 1972

He worked for Krizia with a young Karl Lagerfeld when Milan
wasn't yet the country's fashion capital before starting to 
coordinate five different trade marks collections 
altogether with a stunning stylistic unity. 
With Etro, who followed him from the beginning,  
he realized his most beautiful fabric designs.
So his name took wing.
He was an inexorable perfectionist, every small detail had 
to be beyond reproach; a first rate character, passionately 
loved or hated, full of excesses, irritating and provoking as well 
sensitive and generous, a true Narcissus but never ordinary.

Cape and skirt in printed silk, by Etro, for Misterfox, 1971

He was the perfect ready-to-wear man who designed the first
accessible high-fashion made of simple shirt-dresses inventing
the total look for women with nothing left to chance.
His works had an extraordinary identification between lifestyle
and clothes, a direct reference to the Chanel myth, which came
out from the style, the accurate selection of materials and fabrics
and the absolute care taken with the accessories.

 Embroidered b/w georgette cardi by Terragni, 1973

Albini was the uneasy genius who opened the doors for all other
Italian designers inventing a new concept in elegance but he was
totally ahead of his times and dress-makers as well the fashion
press and publishers weren't ready for him, nevertheless he can
be truly considered the forefather of Italian fashion system
whose name must not fade into the mists of time.

“Engoldisa” lamé tweed printed pyjamas by Etro, 1974


  1. Wonderful illustrations and timeless style BRAVA BETTY!!!!!!!!!