Paris tends to command a lot of attention in the fashion world. Given that it's the birthplace of couture, that should come as no surprise. Still, while we love the varied French aesthetic and, of course, cherish our homegrown British talent (of which there is an impressive amount), we're of the opinion that some of the most exciting brands and designers—both classic and contemporary—hail from Italy.
Lucy Williams wears a pink knitted tank top with an embellished neckline from Miu Miu.
When it comes to pushing sartorial boundaries, no one does so quite like Italian fashion brands. You need only think of the powerhouses—Prada, Miu Miu, Fendi, and so on—and their standout collections instantly come to mind. Ask me what I remember seeing on the New York runways in February 2017, and honestly, I couldn't tell you anything offhand. But Gucci's Milan Fashion Week show the same year? I can instantly recall a green jacquard suit styled with a straw hat the size of a beach umbrella, a banana-yellow jumper adorned with bats, and a cascading sequin maxi dress complete with rainbow stripes and flowers, juxtaposed with an offbeat jewellery choice: a black leather dog collar. It's simple—Italian fashion brands create clothes to be remembered that you can't stop thinking about. And never before has that sentiment been more accurate than it is now.
Bea Bongiasca's jewellery has been the breakout star of 2021.
Alongside the aforementioned Italian fashion brands—those that are undoubtedly household names—we've seen a host of incredible new, independent labels come out of Italy in the last few years, making its fashion climate more thrilling than ever. Just take Amina Muaddi, the creator of perhaps the most in-demand shoes of the last decade. Although she's been in the industry for a while, she only went solo with her own footwear brand last year, and even in the midst of lockdown, her whimsical, thoroughly fancy heels remained wildly popular. And then there's Bea Bongiasca, a brand that has reminded us all that we can and absolutely should have more fun with our jewellery.
Amina Muaddi creates some of the most covetable shoes right now.
So to truly appreciate the excellent pieces coming out of Italy right now, we've brought together 11 of the most important Italian fashion brands to know, some of which you'll recognise and some of which you won't. Keep scrolling to see and shop from the 11 coolest Italian fashion brands in existence.
Launched in 2015, La DoubleJ is the Milan-based brand that scours Italy’s textile archives to repurpose vintage prints as bold creations that are rooted in the artistry of the past. Maximalist and bold, this brand has swiftly become a bona fide editor favourite.
La DoubleJ Birthday Ruffled Silk-Blend Fil Coupé Midi Dress (£1630)
La DoubleJ Saturday Night Floral-Print Cotton-Blend Trousers (£405)
La DoubleJ Striped Wool Polo Shirt (£380)
It's been a long time since we've partied, but when we do, we want to be wearing something from The Attico. OG street style stars Giorgia Tordini and Gilda Ambrosio founded the brand, and their goal was to dress up the everyday while making glamorous outfits feel effortless. Job done. Oh, and its new collaboration with eyewear mogul Linda Farrow is just as covetable as its clothes.
The Attico Fujiko Chain-Strap Jersey Slip Dress (£895)
The Attico x Linda Farrow Mini Marfa Rectangle Sunglasses (£190)
The Attico Patch-Pocket Slit Cotton-Blend Twill Skirt (£505)
It's hard to believe that a few years ago, Bottega Veneta was considered, for lack of a better word, passé. But how times have changed. Now, the fashion house has risen from the ashes to become one of the chicest brands around.
Bottega Veneta Ribbed Wool Cardigan (£1140)
Bottega Veneta The Chain Pouch (£2750)
Bottega Veneta Lug Rubber-Sole Boots (£810)
After years of quiet jewellery stealing the bijoux limelight, Bea Bongiasca has made us fall in love with statement pieces all over again. The brand's playful designs have been a particular hit over the last few months as we all look to more joyful ways of dressing.
Bea Bongiasca Flower 9KT Gold & Two-Tone Enamel Hoop Earrings (£295)
Bea Bongiasca Floral Disco Amethyst, 9KT Gold & Enamel Ring (£1400)
Bea Bongiasca Tendril Crystal, 9KT Gold & Enamel Ring (£395)
Founded in 1913, Prada is one of the world’s most iconic luxury fashion houses. The original founder's granddaughter, the imitable Miuccia Prada, now sits at the helm and has harnessed the sophisticated but by no means stuffy aesthetic that has defined the modern way to do "ladylike" dressing.
Prada Cleo Leather Bag (£1700)
Prada Geometric-Print Cotton-Jersey A-Line Skirt (£2380)
Prada Point-Toe Spazzolato-Leather Slingback Pumps (£705)
Designer Marta Ferri honed her fashion knowledge as visual merchandiser for Prada before setting up her by-appointment-only atelier and design consultancy in Milan. After demand for her designs increased, she branched out into ready-to-wear. Her latest collection features some of the strongest gingham pieces we've seen this season, which is saying something. Oh, and if you like what you see, you'll be pleased to hear the brand does homeware, too.
Marta Ferri Belted Check Linen Maxi Dress (£1950)
Marta Ferri Silk Crepe-de-Chine Wide-Leg Culottes (£1115)
Marta Ferri Check-Print Gathered-Faille Maxi Dress (£1470)
If you used to dream of calling Cinderella's glass slippers your own, you can now make this dream a reality thanks to Amina Muaddi. The brand creates shoes that perhaps weren't made for walking but to stop you in your tracks. Cue saturated hues, PVC fabrications and a whole lot of sparkle.
Amina Muaddi Begum Glass Crystal-Embellished Courts (£995)
Amina Muaddi Gilda Crystal-Embellished Mules (£775)
Amina Muaddi Lupita Green Mules (£515)
If only one brand could be proclaimed "cool," it would be Miu Miu. The younger-sister brand of Prada, Miu Miu is full of designs that are statement but not unwearably so. We find ourselves particularly drawn to its bold separates, which always seem to work together, and its signature platform heels.
Miu Miu Yellow Crystal-Embellished Knit (£760)
Miu Miu Black Lace-Trimmed Jacquard Trousers (£570)
Miu Miu Velvet Platform Heels (£605)
Having put geek chic firmly on the fashion map, there's barely a current trend that can't be traced back to Gucci right now. Although its runway creations are a sight to behold, the pieces that fashion people always zero in on are its logo buys and its classic Horsebit loafers.
Gucci Silk Twill Jacket (£1050)
Gucci Logo Leather Belt (£300)
Gucci Jordaan Leather Loafers (£540)
Cardigans have become a style essential over the past few seasons, but never before have we seen cardigans as beautiful as those by Alanui, which launched in 2016. Stylist Carlotta Oddi and her brother, Nicolò, conceived the cardigan as a canvas of artistic expression and a celebration of craft. Each one takes 11 hours to produce, and it's intended to be a seasonless, treasured wardrobe staple.
Alanui Red Fringed Cardigan (£2375)
Alanui Beige Fringed Cardigan (£2375)
Alanui Black Fringed Cardigan (£2375)
Italian fashion brand Fendi debuted its first ready-to-wear collection in 1969 under the creative direction of the late Karl Lagerfeld, who also served as Chanel's creative director. Kim Jones, who is also at the creative helm of Dior Homme, is now leading the brand, and we can't wait to see the influence he has on it in upcoming seasons.
Fendi FF-Embossed Denim Jacket (£1190)
Fendi Sunshine Logo-Embroidered Canvas Tote Bag (£1890)
Fendi FF Vertigo Cotton-Blend Mesh Midi Skirt (£1390)
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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