Fernanda Gattinoni

Nudity in fashion is undesirable!

Fernanda Gattinoni was born in Lombardy region in northern Italy. At the age of 17, she came to London to learn her favorite trade at the Molineaux house. At one stage she even turned down the offer to work for Coco Chanel since she wanted to return to Italy to set up her own brand.

Her designer son Raniero Gattinoni helped her a lot in her venture. With his help she developed a new ready-to-wear collection in the eighties. Today also it is the most sought after under the able creative director Guillermo Mattiolo. She was a strong believer of elegance and did not approve of nudity in fashion. She often quoted rules that supported her view points. She also tried to make women understand that transparent clothes are not worth. They only tempt men and that they don’t actually attract them towards the actual beauty. She also felt that if women were to often expose what is left for men to uncover?

Her Endeavors

It was in 1924 that she was in London from a well known family to learn English. She used to play the organ and piano at the St. Peter’s Italian church. By the time she had also begun her career as a stylist in Molineaux Atelier, first of its kind in Europe. It is from here that she learned the art of dress making. She was so fond of that that she decided to make her career in the same favorite flair of hers.

By the year 1930, she left London and came back to Italy. She soon got engaged as an art director together with well known Madame Anna, by Ventura.

In 1934 a branch of Ventura was opened in Roma and Fernanda was handed over the charge, again, along with Madame Anna to look after it. Her fame grew and grew. Everyone began to recognize the flair within her.

When in Italy, she moved on into collaboration with Ventura Tailors located in Milan. She quickly moved up to become the creative director there. Gattinoni was by then sequentially transferred to a new location in Rome. It is here that she met Isa Miranda. The meeting brought about a lucky turn around where the actress wanted Fernanda to design the dresses for her entire cast in her film in 1939. The film was ‘Hotel Imperial.’ It was an instant hit and everybody approved of the costumes. This brought her her next success when she also designed the clothing for ‘Adventure Diamonds,’ in the subsequent year.

By 1945 she wanted to open an atelier of her own. Since art was much related to cinema and theatre alike, many personalities from various fields came to her. They include personalities like Visconti Guttuso, Zeffirelli and many others. Fernanda’s first model actress Clara Calami was signed for green velvet that instantly became the star of the show. This was followed suit by many other famous personalities such as Anna Magnani, Lucia Bos, Rossella Falk, Alida Valli, Franca Faldini, Silvana Pampanini, Luciana Paluzzi, Giulietta Masina, Rina Morelli and Gina Lollobrigida. Marche soon became a familiar and sought after name to reckon with.

Rome had become synonymous with cinema. There were about 25 full time embroiders for making wedding dresses in the Gattinoni fashion house. The Persian Shah Sisters had their wedding dresses designed by the creative hands of the atelier. By 1960, Fernanda Gattinoni had created an Empire style collection that redefined her name in the entire world.

It is well about this time that Evita Peron arrived from Argentina and the famous actor Ingrid Bergman carried a kit for every one in her films. The film ‘War and peace’ saw Audrey Hepburn dressed up by Fernanda. After this many personalities like Belinda Lee, Kim Novak, Angie Dickinson and Ivonne Sansone visit Gattinoni's atelier soon. Gattinoni is welcome in all embassies by ambassadress Zellerbach, Clare Booth Luce, Bancher, Jackie Kennedy and Lee Reinhard.

Raniero, her Son

In 1980, that is in mid eighties, Fernando’s son Raniero Gattinoni took the reins of the atelier in his able hands. Creative and outstanding contributions from him catapulted the name Gattinoni to fame even among the Europeans. The high fashion ready-to-wear collection was then launched.

Raniero had a degree from London University in Philosophy and Arts. With a work experience at the Mary Quant and Harrods, he worked as a designer till the end of 70s. Some prestigious Italian companies had their knitwear collection designed by him. The National Chamber of Fashion in 1985 invited him to join the popular and famous names that showed their collections in Piazza di Spagna. After three years, Raniero Gattinoni signed his first high fashion collection.

In 1993 the tradition of the famous atelier was carried on even after the sad demise of Raniero. The atelier was then brought under the proficient hands of Guglielmo Mariotto who was with Raniero for over 10 years. He had indeed succeeded to keep the standards of the atelier high as it was in the beginning. Meanwhile, Fernanda Gattinoni was conferred with a great honor known as the Cavaliere del lavoro.

In 1994 June, Fernanda celebrated her first seventy years in popular and high degree fashion.

Gattinoni Today

Today, the Gattinoni label is seen on many ready-to-wear ladies lines present in many countries across the world. The industry today engages over 2000 people on various lines and many other activities bound to the industry by contracts. Guglielmo Mariotto designs all the products of the various lines as he heads the design section of the house. Italian and other foreign customers are presented with these exemplary collections at least twice a year. On the occasion of Paris Pret-a-Porter shows, the Gattinoni lines are displayed at Hotel Place Athenee.

At the age of 95, the world saw the sad demise of the Italian fashion designer. She was most talked about for creating stunning and elegant dresses that were really adored by Ingrid Bergman and Audrey Hepburn. Until her death Gattinoni was involved actively in the ventures of her house of fashion. She was one among the first to be considered as the costume designer in the Italian film industry during the fifties and sixties. She won acclaim for her costumes that adorned Audrey Hepburn in the film ‘War and peace.’ And by then her dresses were the most sought after by the actresses of the day.

This legacy of high fashion dressing still continues to adorn the fashion-conscious folk of the world.