A big thank-you to everyone who got in touch with me after my debut post a couple of weeks ago. I’m really glad to know it was of interest and that you liked the pictures from my collection.
As you may remember from the previous World of Lingerie article, I mentioned Catherine de Medici. And so, to keep the European theme going, inspired by her Franco-Italian roots I have chosen Italy as our featured country today.
What is the typical Italian lingerie aesthetic?
The best Italian lingerie is all about quality materials and hand finishing. There are many similarities to the French style, but where the French edge towards playfulness, femininity and flirtiness, I feel there’s something more grown-up and restrained about Italian designs.
It’s interesting to note that some of the world’s earliest lingerie-like clothing can be seen on the 4th Century frescoes of the Villa Romana del Casale – Sicilian female gymnasts pictured with their breasts covered with a strophium (a sort of breast-cloth). This is lingerie not only as decorative but also functional clothing, and it’s this aspect I see reflected in many of today’s Italian designs; the style is important, but equally so is fit and function. It can sometimes show Italian lingerie designs to be more conservative than those from certain other European countries. But I think it’s the strength, not a weakness. Elegance in abundance, but not at the expense of form.
Somehow personifying this sentiment is the first significant name and precursor of modern Italian lingerie design, Flora Lastriaolli, who started her company in 1932. Always extravagant (her Great Grandmother Amelia even dressed the royal family!), but sophisticated and comfortable, Lastraolli is in many ways the quintessential Italian lingerie brand. Founded around the same time in Turin, Guia la Bruna is also a brand based on tradition and producing high quality intimates. And nineteenth years later in 1954, Ada Masotti established her Bologna corsetry workshop, developing into perhaps Italy’s most famous ligerie brand, La Perla.
The best Italian lingerie brands
Here are a few of Italy’s most recognised brands that are not only well established, but also faithful to the Italian tradition:
Flora Lastriaolli — founded in 1932, luxurious handmade and decorated lingerie, based on traditional techniques; Guia la Bruna — founded in Turin in 1935, until today keeping tradition with high quality, intimate lingerie producing; Ritratti — founded in 1936; Parah — founded in 1950 by wife & husband, well know as a swimwear producer; La Perla — founded in 1954 in Bologna, some of the best and most respected lingerie in the world; Intimissimi — member of Calzedonia Group, providing good quality intimates at affordable prices.
The best lingerie boutiques in Milan
Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to visit Italy so far, but when the time comes, Milan will be high up on the list of cities to visit. With a long fashion history and lots of lingerie shops and boutiques, here are a few to look out for…
Intimissimi, Via Torino 3, Milan 20123
La Perla, Via Montenapoleone 1 Milan ,20121
Argentovivo, Via Cesare Correnti 28, Milan 20123
Parah, Corso Venezia 31, Milan 20121
Flora Lastriaolli, Milan
Ritratti, G. DE BERNARDI, Via Patteri 6, 20122 Milan
I hope you have enjoyed this little feature on Italy. It has been interesting for me to discover new Italian brands, and I hope it has opened up a few avenues for all of you also. Feel free to leave your thought and comments below, and arrivederci for now!