Krizia signatures

08/04/2016

Mariuccia Mandelli biography / Krizia signatures / Krizia pleats, Krizia Zoo & Krizia Gold / Oro Krizia pleats at Krizia Fall/Winter 2014, Krizia Gold at Spring/Summer 2009 & Krizia Zoo at Spring/Summer 2013 via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
When I think of Mariuccia Mandelli signatures, the word that comes to mind is "an abundance" -  Krizia designer might have preferred a small circle of family and friends and felt the happiest in one of her homes, but her imagination, her ideas and signature designs had no boundaries or emotional restrictions. In fact, when it came to emotions, Mandelli used her collections as a message, hidden at times, but still a message aimed to touch our inner thoughts, dreams and even fears.

Krizia Zoo on a runway in Spring/Summer 2002 worn by Natalia Semanova, Spring/Summer 2013 & Spring/Summer 2014, 1980s editorial / Mariuccia Mandelli biography via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Her animals known as Krizia Zoo were one of those "secret soul messengers". They were Mandelli's lucky charms, not only because she loved animals, but, by her own confession, was in awe of them. And so she would set them free as patterns for Krizia's iconic knitwear starting with a humble sheep in 1968 as a "Thank you" for the wool she used to create the sweaters and dresses. A few years later the sheep was replaced with a cat in 1974, followed by a fox in 1975, then a polar bear in 1976-1977, swans, tigers and cobras - 1878-1979, moneys and camels in 1079, eagles and crocodiles - 1979-1980, parrots and toucans and a leopard paw in 1981, and finally elephants, bears, lions and dalmatians in the mid 1980s. Nobody ever knew which "Krizia pet" will be chosen as the star of the collection - it was always a guessing game, which made each collection even more exciting often making each piece a collector's item.

With the changing technology and constantly honed skills, in the 1980s Mandelli began mixing her beloved fauna with their natural habitat and so along came the butterflies and exotic flowers, co-habiting together on yet another indulgently soft cashmere dress or fuzzy angora jumper. 

"I would love it if in one of my shows I could display a frame to demonstrate how the intarsia pattern of an animal is worked into a sweater, to show the reverse with the quantity of yarns entwined or still dangling, to understand how complicated it is to do a cheetah's paw, half a monkey's tail or a cat's eye." Mariuccia confessed once. 

In 1993 Mandelli's collection full of parakeets, leopards, squirrels and monkey was referred to as one of the best Krizia designs since her very first show in 1964.  

And although the animal motives were lated adopted by other fashion houses and became a trend, Krizia's Milan headquarters, which were, in fact, located across the street from an actual Zoo, have always remained their true home.

Krizia Oro / Krizia Gold on a runway in 2004, Shalom Harlow wearing Krizia in Harper's Bazaar 1995 (photography: Patrick Demarchelier) & Krizia Fall/Winter 2010 campaign / Mariuccia Mandelli biography via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Everything Mariuccia Mandelli sent down the runway was made to perfection, or if I may say so, the gold standard of tailoring and choice of fabrics. And the gold reference wouldn't end here. In fact, Krizia Oro or Krizia Gold was certainly another signature of the house. Since Mandelli favoured muted hues of honey, khaki, grey and ivory for many of her collections, the gold made a perfect sense for adding a flair of luxury, opulence and Italian glamour to any outfit.

Sometimes it would take the central stage to the point of being overwhelming, with all-gold looks in crashed lame, gold lace and leather, handfuls of beaded jewellery, ORO logo generously slapped across the surface of the sweaters and dresses, or pleated and draped for the evening wear. In the 1990s it faded into background, often transformed into borders and finishing touches, footwear, hosiery, gloves, or hidden under sober layers of cashmere and camel coats (I wonder if the latter inspired Max Mara Fall/Winter 2016 collection as some of the looks and styling seemed very similar to the outfits worn by Nadja Auermann, Linda Evangelista and Shalom Harlow on Krizia Fall/Winter 1994 runway). And while at times it was borderlining on kitsch, the gold was there to celebrate joy, entice and inspire.

Krizia Pleats in 1988, on a runway at Krizia Spring/Summer 2009 & Krizia Fall/Winter 2013, Mariuccia Mandelli backstage in 1987 via Io Donna / Mariuccia Mandelli biography via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
In 1979 Mandelli also turned to pleats to transform a simple raincoat into something rather special. Next came the caterpillar and butterfly jumpsuits, and bloomers inspired by Japanese lanterns and Chinese fans created of horizontal and knife-type pleats. Mandelli looked for ideas everywhere moving from Oriental influenced to architecture and Fortuny archives. As a result, her 1987-1989 collection included laquered linen gazar and silk organza pleating that created an effect of flowers and structures suspended in the air, looking like fragile wings of a dragon or  the Chrysler Building. The pleats became another Krizia signature, reappeared in collections over the years and can now be admired in museum collections.

Mariuccia Mandelli after Fall/Winter 2010 show via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Photo source: Krizia pleats at Krizia Fall/Winter 2014, Krizia Gold at Spring/Summer 2009 & Krizia Zoo at Spring/Summer 2013, Krizia Zoo on a runway in Spring/Summer 2002 worn by Natalia Semanova, Spring/Summer 2013 & Spring/Summer 2014, 1980s editorial, Krizia Oro / Krizia Gold on a runway in 2004, Shalom Harlow wearing Krizia in Harper's Bazaar 1995 (photography: Patrick Demarchelier) & Krizia Fall/Winter 2010 campaign, Krizia Pleats in 1988, on a runway at Krizia Spring/Summer 2009 & Krizia Fall/Winter 2013, Mariuccia Mandelli backstage in 1987 via Io Donna, Mariuccia Mandelli after Fall/Winter 2010 show via Style Bistro.

5 comments:

  1. Love the way the animal motifs were incorporated into the glamourous designs!

    LUXESSED

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  2. I am not a great fan of the movie The Devil Wear Prada but reading this article reminded me very much of Meryl Streep's speech about the blue sweater - it's amazing the way fashion trickles down to the streets and I now that Mariuccia Mandelli is responsible for so many of the strangely printed sweaters that the women around me wore in the 1980s, because lower end designers were imitating her animal and habitat intarsia prints. How fascinating!
    xox,
    Cee

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  3. thank you for this history lesson on krizia. this was truly fascinating and i loved learning the details and the story. great!!

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  4. How interesting to find out the reason behind the animal motifs in Krizia's designs.

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  5. So exquisite! I love that silver tank & skirt set and gold dress (circles). Gorgeous!
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

    ReplyDelete