Style Ideas Inspired by Italian Designers
Sicilian Folk (Dolce & Gabbana)
Think Sicily in the summer. Vibrant designs, broad stripes, bright colors, ethnic prints.
"We expect to see a lot more Dolce and Gabbana Sicilian Folk design in the very near future," says Sally Hamilton, who runs the online Italian fashion boutique Selandari's Italian Collection. "D&G's youth-oriented fashion trends get into high-street stores really quickly."
Animal Attraction! (Roberto Cavalli)
"Roberto Cavalli, nicknamed 'The Leopard King,' is known for the 'Animalier' look, bringing leopard and cheetah prints back into fashion worldwide," Hamilton explains. "His reach was limited to a small clientele of wealthy Europeans -- until around 1995, when women were finally growing tired of the reigning minimalist look. Then his business suddenly took off."
The Power Suit (Giorgio Armani)
"Armani is best known in America for his men's suits," says Hamilton, who writes the Italian fashion blog Selandari's Secrets. "After Richard Gere wore Armani in the film American Gigolo, Armani provided the wardrobe for Miami Vice -- and the enduring trend of the Men's Power Suit was born."
That Black Dress (Gianni Versace)
"Elizabeth Hurley's career skyrocketed after she wore 'that dress' to the premier of Four Weddings and a Funeral," Hamilton says.
That black silk and lycra dress, held together by strategically placed gold safety pins, didn't just launch Hurley's career -- it is also credited with making Versace a household name.
JLo’s Green Dress (Donatella Versace)
Just like her brother Gianni Versace, Donatella Versace saw her career reach new heights after she designed an iconic red-carpet dress for a celebrity. Rumor has it that Jennifer Lopez held her infamous green chiffon Versace dress in place with double-sided toupee tape.
The Gucci Diana Bamboo Handbag
"Italian Handbags are a worldwide trend because of the quality of leather, designs and elegance," Hamilton says.
Gucci is the clear leader of the pack. Fashion icons Jackie Kennedy and Lady Diana both carried Gucci bags -- and each of the fabulous fashionistas has a special Gucci bag named after her: The Jackie Original GG Canvas Shoulder Bag and The Gucci Diana Bamboo Handbag (featured here). The supple leather and natural bamboo handle will leave you feeling like a princess.
The Man Bag (Bottega Veneta)
This Bottega Veneta crocodile clutch bag -- and many others -- just might be the future of men's fashion.
"The 'man bag' trend started in Italy. Men have just as many things to carry around, and I spotted men with small slimline satchels slung across their chests in Milan years ago," explains Hamilton, who travels to Milan several times each year on fashion business. "It seems now the 'man bags' have caught on, and leather manufacturers offer lots of styles."
Color Me Beautiful (Benetton)
No discussion of Italian fashion designers would be complete without a nod to Luciano Benetton. In 1965, seeing a market for bright, colorful clothes, he launched a small business that has since become a worldwide empire with more than 6500 stores across the globe.
Driving Home a New Shoe Style (Tod’s)
If you think all Italian women's shoes are high-heels, think again. These "driving shoes" by Tod's, featuring hand-stitched leather or suede uppers with rubber-studded soles, break the mold.
"Although not the first to make these, Tod's trended them with clever advertising, making them a style statement for casual dressing," Hamilton says.