- Italian haute couture began after World War II in Rome. Affectionately referred to as Alta Moda, haute couture was embraced by tourists and starlets alike, especially when the demand for quality was supplied by designers such as Guccio Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo. The first Alta Moda show was held in Florence at the Pitti Palace. Nine high fashion houses and sixteen sportswear and boutique houses participated. It seemed that just as Florence had established itself as the center of Italian fashion, several designers defected back to Rome. An agreement was eventually worked out with Alta Moda remaining in Rome and accessories and boutique shows being held in Florence. Paris and Italy synchronized their calendars and the Italians founded the Camera Nazionale d'Alta Moda. "Made in Italy" translated into extravagant fashion scooped up by wealthy Americans. Rising designers such as Giorgio Armani, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, Gianfranco Ferre, Franco Moschino, and Gianni Versace joined with established ones like Ferragamo and Garavani Valentino to promote Italian fashion. In 1979, Milanese businessman Beppe Modenese organized the first fashion show to be held in Milan with more than forty designers participating. During the 1980s, Milan reinforced Italy as an established center of fashion, maintained by strong design and a commitment to market its product.
Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. Francesca Sterlacci and Joanne Arbuckle.
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