Italy: A Year Abroad Perspective

The Italy-enthusiast Dianne Hales wrote once that “as a country Italy makes no sense”. Indeed, united into a nation only a century and a half ago, Italy is a patchwork of regions, cultures and landscapes.

In 1951, Giovanni Battista Giorgini held a fashion show in Florence, establishing a nascent international scene for Italian couture, and since then Italy’s history of fashion has become notorious. Milan, we know, is one of the fashion capitals of the industry. Accessories, we are told, is to an Italian like tea is to the English. To be Italian, we have been assured, is to be effortlessly glamorous.

Milan and Rome are the famous homes of fashion, but the rest of Italy carves out an identity for itself too. In Bologna there can be found a bohemian abundance of dreadlocks and harem pants, the by-product of the infamously left-wing, student-orientated city. Where I live, in Salerno, the boys often accessorize ripped jeans with colourful Nike ‘Just Do It’ mini backpacks and Adidas Superstars or Stan Smiths while girls dress in black from head to toe, preferring sleek leather and black heeled boots. Milan may have a founded a culture of couture, still today splashed across our monthly Vogues, but Italy is an incredibly multifaceted country, its style established by a culture of variety.

Mamie Hampshire

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