WORD BY JOSEPH FURNESS
Bar Parisians, we're convinced no one truly understands fashion quite like the Italians. From the glitz and glam of Gucci to the sophisticated style of Giorgio Armani, the Mediterranean destination is practically overflowing with designer names. But where does one begin when attempting to dress like an Italian? Is there a sartorial recipe? And what are the best Italian fashion brands and designers out there? Here’s what you need to know.
The Best Italian Designer Brands
How to dress like an Italian according to Missoni
The first rule of Italian fashion is to stick with your signature style, which is exactly what family-run brand Missoni has been doing since the 1950s. Famous for its colorful knitwear, instantly recognisable zig-zag patterning and bohemian ideals, Missoni creates reliable pieces and avoids entertaining fad trends.
How to dress like an Italian according to Versace
The late Gianni Versace once said: ‘I think it’s the responsibility of a designer to try and break rules and barriers’ — a quote that laconically explains the legendary designer and brand founder’s more-is-more approach that’s been signature to the brand since inception.
Donatella Versace now conveys her brother’s vision, offering maximalist menswear and womenswear in full throttle – think trademark baroque patterns, gold embellishments and the unmistakable Medusa motif.
Therefore, according to the returned-to-its-roots Versace of today, an Italian dresses with unbreakable confidence, flair and a touch of pizazz.
Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons
How to dress like an Italian according to Prada
To fit the criteria of the Prada man/woman, you must be able to synthesize elements of the past and the future to create an ensemble that’s fit for the times. Miuccia Prada’s passion for combining bleeding-edge resources with retro inspirations, and an ever-enticing range of season-transcending leather goods, is the chief formula to the brand’s success. Now that she is joined by the unstoppable Mr Raf Simons, we expect to see a hint of rebellion thrown into the mix for good measure.
How to dress like an Italian according to Giorgio Armani
If you’re looking for a crash course in Italian dressing, look to Giorgio Armani – the father of minimalist fashion. In contrast to the more vivacious brands that originate from Italia, Giorgio’s focus remains on relaxed luxury (think slim-fit knitwear; unstructured, perfect-for-any-occasion suits and lots and lots of navy). Thus, to dress like an Italian is to dress like Giorgio Armani – with bucketloads of class and sophistication.
How to dress like an Italian according to Gucci
Gucci, the great titan of Italian fashion, is rich in everything: rich in color, rich in materials, rich in grandeur and rich in influence. Simply put, Gucci’s interpretation of Italian dressing is founded on big statements, intricate details and glitz and glam – especially since the ever-eccentric Alessandro Michele took charge. A touch of nostalgia and a lot of unapologetic ostentatiousness defines the brand’s aesthetic today.
Silvia Fendi and Kim Jones
How to dress like an Italian according to Fendi
Logomania may have reigned supreme over the last few years at Fendi; however, it is cream-of-the-crop leathers that are intrinsic to the Rome-based brand. Accordingly, the paramount component to Fendi’s style guidelines is to indulge in pieces of maximal quality – apparel and accessories that will last a lifetime.
How to dress like an Italian according to Bottega Veneta
Above everything, Italian fashion is concerned with crème de la crème craftsmanship. Which is why Bottega Veneta – home to intrecciato, the fashion house’s trademark woven technique – is never out of fashion. And since British designer Daniel Lee took the helm, Bottega has been on everyone’s radar. Which just goes to show, you don’t need to be of Italian blood to successfully adopt Italian style.
Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina
How to dress like an Italian according to Sunnei
Sunnei are the Milan-based outfitters of happy-go-lucky Italians: the fancy-free vineyard owners; the footloose backpackers; the seaside dwellers. It’s a brand that’s playful in essence – with oversized shapes, deckchair stripes and a Wes Anderson-esque color palette at its centre. The key to Sunnei’s fun-loving Italian style? Take your leisurewear seriously.
How to dress like an Italian according to Stone Island
Experts in outerwear, Stone Island, have always been concerned with what’s next. Their research into leading-edge materials and technology has kept them at the pinnacle of outerwear, as they look to create high-performance, utilitarian fits that withstand the test of time. So, to dress like an Italian, one must start thinking like an Italian, and according to Stone Island, that requires a progressive mindset.
How to dress like an Italian according to Miu Miu:
Miu Miu is Miuccia Prada’s costume box – a child at heart, the designer loves nothing more than bringing her rebellious yet playful visions to life in surprisingly sophisticated ways.
More than anything else, Miu Miu is concerned with details. A pretty Peter Pan collar enhances a black tweed jacket; a denim skirt is bejewelled with crystals; a pastel purple puffer is set apart by its exaggerated quilted design. By adding unique twists to contemporary style necessities, Miuccia Prada and the rest of the Miu Miu team keep their ardent customer base satisfied.
How to dress like an Italian according to Marni:
If you’re hoping to inject some vibrancy into your everyday style, Marni should be your first port of call. Largely inspired by the world of art, the experimental label creates unique, eye-catching garments and accessories adorned with punchy prints, conspicuous colors and tasteful textures.
So, how does an Italian dress according to Marni? They take risks and invest in statement hero pieces that capture their imagination. Instantly, Marni’s Monster’s Inc.-esque striped mohair jumper comes to mind.
How to dress like an Italian according to Palm Angels:
‘Skateboarder chic’ is perhaps the most appropriate way to describe the blueprint of Italian brand Palm Angels. How did founder and designer Francesco Ragazzi succeed in pushing skatewear into high fashion? Like most Italian designers, he has a knack for producing high-quality evergreen pieces that catch the eye of myriad subcultures worldwide.
How to dress like an Italian according to Valentino:
Valentino is an ever-evolving brand that’s at its best when it returns to its roots steeped in grace and glamour. Thus, Valentino’s contemporary collections – designed by the one and only Pierpaolo Piccioli – are applauded when the designer reinterprets the brand's classic aesthetic with modern sensibilities.
What can one learn about dressing from Valentino? That elegance never dies. According to Valentino, dressing like an Italian is about picking refined pieces that embrace the past and the present.