Meet the Nonconformist Designer Who Revolutionized 1960s Fashion ‹ Literary Hub


Featured image: Abito corto in pizzo con disegno Azma (1971). Short lace dress with the Azma print (1971). From Ken Scott.

What does fashion express with a show? And what does a fashion show signify for a designer who shapes his thinking through clothing? The question is a legitimate one when you watch events like those of Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, and before them those of the late Alexander McQueen—two designers capable of taking a stance on contemporary reality through their complex, imaginary, and theatrical installations. But the question especially needs to be asked when the story is told about the designer who, more than any other, revolutionized fashion shows, turning them into absolute performances for the first time ever.

It was the 1960s, and Italian fashion was presented at Palazzo Pitti, in Florence, without much fanfare. Surrounded by the elegance of the institution and a practical sense, there were models, there were splendid clothes, and, of course, there were elegant clients who, while seated on Chiavari-style chairs, observed what they saw, assessing each outfit in detail before signing the orders for their own wardrobe or for their own boutique. In short, the attention was focused on the product. The outfit was everything. Was anything missing?


Excerpted from Ken Scott by Shahidha Bari, Federico Chiara, Pierre Léonforte, Renata Molho, and Isa Tutino. Copyright © 2022. Available from Rizzoli.

Federico Chiara

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