Fame fashioned in Hollywood

Fame fashioned in Hollywood... But designers made in Italy. Fashion is about providing a way to articulate our identity, our mood, our message, through garments, fabrics, and, of course, bling.

Italy is synonymous as a fashion powerhouse. Fashion houses such as Gucci, Armani, Valentino, Prada, Versace & Bulgari are well known around the world. 

Made in Italy

A glance at any fashion magazine indicates that Italy leads in iconic styling for all - and the fashion houses have evolved to keep in step, or even to lead, community expectations in how we approach the embodiment of identity. Made in Italy is the approach, and behind it lies beauty: selection of textiles all crafted to interpret the most fanciful and luxurious of designs. There is no doubt that Italian fashion provides a way of inspiring our personal presentation and individuality. 

However, it has only really been since the mid 1940's that Italian designers became known for leading fashion trends, with refined tailoring, luxurious fabrics, and versatile comfortable ready to wear. In fact, it was after World War II that America started investing in Italian designers. Hollywood actors became a billboard for 'Made in Italy' clothing and accessories This was reflected in the Golden Age of Hollywood which relied on Italian fashion designers.

However, as the world changed, so did fashion. Designers understood the necessity to pivot from couture to appeal to a wider more practical market. 

Fashion in the 60's movies

  • William Wyler's, Roman Holiday (1953) costume designs were a collaboration between American Designer Edith Head and Italian siblings the Fontana Sisters. Audrey Hepburn elegance has certainly inspired the way we dress still today.

  • Aida (1953) Sophia Loren's first major role in a Hollywood movie, attracting huge attention.  Costumes designed by Italian Maria De Matteis, exotic Roman gowns shaped the female silhouette and large jewelled collier's elongated the neckline. 

  • King Vidor's, War and Peace (1956) Fashion Designers Maria De Matteis and Fernanda Gattinoni displayed future trends, reviving the Empire silhouette worn by actress Audrey Hepburn. This earned De Matteis a Gattinoni a nomination at the Academy Awards for Best Costume Design-colour 

  • Federico Fellini's, La Dolce Vita (1960) Piero Gherardi was the designer who created the memorable outfits. Less restricting little black dress designs were embraced as a new sense of freedom.  Anita Ekberg played the character of Sylvia wearing the glamorous strapless black gown with thigh high leg split.

Audrey Hepburn Hollywood fashion

International and Italian star actresses

Between the years of the 50's and 60's was a highly productive time for Hollywood movies, made in Rome. Many by screen writer and director Federico Fellini , this launched a platform for Italian designers to establish themselves by fostering relationships with the actors who would adorn the red carpet with their latest creations. 

Paradoxically, the Italian fashion industry was dominated by males, there were Guccio Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermenegildo Zegna and Emilio Schuberth . Few female designers became established even though they demonstrated a clear understanding of what working woman wanted to wear, Mila Schà¶n, Simonetta, The Fontana Sisters were pivotal in establishing Italian fashion internationally, dressing actresses such as, Ava Gardener, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Anita Ekberg, of course the renowned Italian-born actors Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida.

A young Sophia Loren also worked with Naples born designer Emilio Schuberth, who created outfits for her first trip to Hollywood. Outfits including scarves, gowns, and lingerie - all designed so that Sophia was noticed. Her colour palette consisted of pink, white, chartreuse, turquoise and champagne, avoiding black so not to blend in with men's suits.

The influence of the Hollywood styles was powerful, with the availability of Vogue patterns the designs would be made by dressmakers around the world. And - influence other designers, including myself. When designing it is important to know the person who will ultimately choose your garment - and find a way to express aspects of their character, that they may not even be aware of! That's the trick. 

fame fashioned in hollywood

With a kaleidoscope of colours, textiles, patterns and designs, Italian fashion has enabled many to express, and even find, their own sense of identity. 

Fashion in Hollywood movies

  • 8 à‚½ (1963) Beautifully stylish movie with designs by Piero Gherardi. Featuring style icon Anouk Aimée with short hair and high brow glasses.  We see hats, pearls, larger than life sunglasses, fur stoles - women on parade 

  • American Gigolo (1980) A fine heartthrob moment in cinema with actor Richard Gere wearing Giorgio Armani suit.  This was at the beginning of Armani's global success and continued to create many designs for Hollywood. Another movie milestone for Giorgio Armani was suiting up Leonardo Di Caprio in Wolf of Wallstreet (2013) 


  • Showgirls (1995) controversial for the amount of nudity, yet the Versace collection is unforgettable. Remember that midi black dress by Versace worn by actress Elizabeth Berkley   

  • Sex and the City Drama series running from 1998 to 2004 Character Carrie Bradshaw, wears the most amazing high end clothing, introducing the viewer to style themselves from head to toe in designer wear.  The scene of he in the full ruffled tulle dress in dusty blue grey, stood up by her date, she eats the whole tub of ice cream in that Versace gown.   

  • The Devil Wears Prada (2006) Chic, modern, high end designer outfits by PRADA and a few other brands. Did you know Valentino Garavani also makes a cameo appearance in the movie.   

  • The Great Gatsby (2013) although the costume designer was Catherine Martin, the movie also featured 40 or so Miuccia Prada outfits including some worn by Carey Mulligan as character Daisy Buchanan


  • House of Gucci (2021) the production had access to the Gucci archives, we see the onscreen fashion from the 70's to 90's. Lady Gaga resurges extravagant fashion as Patrizia Reggiani wife of Maurizio Gucci  shimmers in sequin, jewels, lace and furs.