Mad Men Era 5: The Europeans

Vicomte Willy Philippe Brenninkmeyer Rocci Justine Eyre The Jet Set Mad Men Season 2
Vicomte Willy (Philippe Brenninkmeyer) and Rocci (Justine Eyre) in “The Jet Set” (Mad Men, Season 2)

This week, four established European designers who were based in Spain and Italy: Rodriguez, Simonetta, Fabiani, and Pucci.

Rodríguez (1895-1990)

Born in Valencia, Pedro Rodríguez opened his first salon in Barcelona in 1918. During the Spanish Civil War he relocated to Paris, but returned to Spain when the war ended. Although little-known outside his country, he was Franco Spain’s most celebrated designer. Rodríguez’s drawings are the focus of an exhibition running until June 17th at Madrid’s Museo del Traje, “Pedro Rodríguez: Alta Costura sobre papel. Figurines de Pedro Rodríguez, 1940-1976.”

Vogue 1338 is a slim evening dress with a uniquely shaped bodice, high-waisted in front and dipping low in the back:

1960s Pedro Rodríguez evening dress and stole pattern - Vogue 1338
Vogue 1338 by Pedro Rodríguez (1964) Evening dress and stole. Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Simonetta (1922-2011)

A member of the Italian aristocracy, Simonetta Colonna di Cesarò was born a duchesa and made her first marriage to a Visconti. She presented her first collection in 1946, in newly liberated Rome. During the early 1960s she and her second husband, Alberto Fabiani, combined their talents to form a Paris label, Simonetta et Fabiani. Simonetta was known for youthful, dramatic designs with an emphasis on form and cut.

Vogue 1231 is a glamorous yet simple design for a formal dress with attached circular cape. The asymmetrical fall of the cape gives it a neoclassical, military air:

Vogue 1231 1960s Simonetta pattern
Vogue 1231 by Simonetta (1963) Dress with attached cape. Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Fabiani (1910-1987)

Alberto Fabiani was born into a family of couturiers. He trained for a few years with an Italian tailor in Paris before returning to Italy, where he soon became head of the family couture house. As mentioned above, he formed a joint label with his second wife, Simonetta, before returning to his solo label. Fabiani was known for conservative, tailored designs with impeccable cut.

Vogue 1450 is a short evening dress with waistcoat detail and deep, slashed neckline revealing an underbodice. A narrow, self-corded belt ties in a bow at the raised front waistline, above a skirt shaped by soft pleats:

1960s Fabiani short evening dress pattern - Vogue 1450
Vogue 1450 by Fabiani (1965) Short evening dress.

Pucci (1914-1992)

The designer we know as Pucci was born Marchese Emilio Pucci di Barsento, to the aristocratic Florentine family based at the Palazzo Pucci. He obtained a doctorate from the University of Florence and also served as a pilot in the Italian Air Force before opening his first boutique in Capri in 1949. Pucci was famous for his youthful sports and resort wear in distinctive, colourful prints and new fabrics like lightweight silk jersey.

Vogue 1351 is a chic casual ensemble consisting of a boxy jacket, simple blouse, and tapered pants with optional stirrups. The model was photographed in Florence rather than Rome:

1960s Pucci jacket, blouse, and pants pattern - Vogue 1351
Vogue 1351 by Pucci (1964) Jacket, blouse, and pants. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

I always find it interesting how the Vogue Couturier line drew attention to the designer’s nationality or the European city where they were based—Pucci of Italy, Rodríguez of Madrid—drawing attention to the not-Paris of emerging fashion centres in London and on the Continent. Although Rodríguez was somewhat isolated in Franco Spain, the Italian couturiers were designing for the international jet set.

Next: New Talent: Laroche, Galitzine, and Forquet.

6 thoughts on “Mad Men Era 5: The Europeans

      1. Yes, beautiful. I’m imagining it in a fantastic azure or sapphire blue. (Not that my sewing skills are up to it yet.) Perhaps you’ll chance upon it sometime. 🙂

  1. As always, delicious post, and very instructive Sarah. I love Rodriguez, was a hardworking man, discreet, and many people do not know which inspired other “masters” as Balenciaga, Pertegaz, etc.. Here in Barcelona, ​​is currently compiling a catalog of all funds of the Textile Museum. My friend Cristina (the milliner), is working on photo shoots. I’ll keep, you’ll like.

    Pta. – Please Sarah, send me your address via e-mail, I send you a booklet on the last exhibition of Rodriguez, in Barcelona.

    http://pacoperaltarovira.blogspot.com.es/2011/04/que-me-pongo.html

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