KRIZIA: READY-TOWEAR’S VINTAGE GODMOTHER
Born Maria Mandelli, and also known as Crazy Krizia because of her eccentric style and her uncoventional use of fabrics, today Krizia is mostly remebered for her knitwear, her perfumes and for having created an early version of the hotpants in 1971, when lengths in fashion ranged exclusively between midi and maxi.
However the designer, originally from Bergamo, was actually one of the first ones to contribute with her brand to the launch of Italian ready-to-wear, in an era when fashion production mostly focused on elegant and elaborate haute couture dresses.
FROM BERGAMO TO PALAZZO PITTI…
Maria Mandelli, fondly nicknamed Mariuccia, launched Krizia in 1954, after having opened a small fashion workshop with her friend Flora Dolci; the name originates from Plato’s last, unfinished dilogue about feminine vanity.
In that period fashion conversations, still mostly held in Paris, were gradually beginning to take place also in Italy, in particular in Florence. In 1964 Krizia hosted her first runway show at Palazzo Pitti; her collection receivied the prestiogious Fashion Critique Award which up until then had only been given to Emilio Pucci.
… AND FROM PALAZZO PITTI TO MILAN
Krizia was one of the first brands to move the presentation of its collections from Florence to Milan already in the second half of the Sixties.
Together with Krizia, also Missoni and Walter Albini (who worked with Krizia for three years) started hosting runway shows in Milan, thus setting the base for the Milan Fashion Capital that we know today.
HOT PANTS AND THE PANTHER
Mariuccia Mandelli went for simple items, extremely wearable and, for this precise reason, also very much appreciated both from the press and from the clients.
Krizia’s style is easily recognizable, also thanks to its materials: Mariuccia blended traditional fabrics with rubber, alluminium, cork and all kinds of precious leathers, such as eel. She also used laminates and fancy pleates, as well as placing the iconic panther, symbol of the brand, on several garments. Her famous shorts, to which she dedicated an entire catwalk, won her the Golden Tiberius, back then a very important industry award.
In 1995, Milan’s Triennale hosts the retrspective “Krizia. A history”, celebrating the forty years of fashionable work of the designer. In that period, Krizia was one of the trendiest brands around, celebrated for its clothes but also for its fragrances.
THE KRIZIA WOMAN
Regarding her style, Mariuccia said in an interview: “Mine is a free woman, capable of having fun with the clothes she wears. I never had female icons, or models. Unfortunately today there’s way too much of a tendency to seek approval, people try to be trendy but the moment they try they’re actually already out of fashion.”
In 1996, Mariuccia Mandelli was nominated “commendatore” of the Italian Republic, the only woman together with Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Valentino Garavani and Gianfranco Ferré - all crdited for making Italian fashion famous worldwide.