Elio Fiorucci, a designer who has left an indelible mark in the history of fashion over the last 40 years, talks to YOOX.COM in an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW.
Designer, talent scout, entrepreneur and communicator. A key figure in the history of fashion, Fiorucci has managed to create a universe in which art and fashion intertwine. His creations have had a phenomenon success and became popular cult items for several generations.
Elio Fiorucci was born in Milan in 1935, and at the age of 17 he began following his father's profession, working in the family's slipper shop in the city center. Fiorucci first opened his own shop in 1967, featuring all the newest arrivals from Carnaby Street and the most popular items from London and the United States. After just three years, the Fiorucci name became a brand with its own industrial production, distributed throughout Europe, South America and Japan. The Milanese flagship store became a meeting point for young people seeking out the unconventional and the "Fiorucci style" was born as a look and lifestyle concept. As his brand's symbol, Fiorucci chose the two now-famous angels, a Victorian image re-interpreted by the architect Italo Lupi.
After opening a store in London, in 1976 the New York Fiorucci store, designed by Ettore Sottsass, Andrea Branzi and Franco Marabelli, opened on 59th Street and immediately became a cult destination frequented by New York's most famous intellectuals. Andy Warhol chose the shop window for the launch of his revolutionary "Interview" magazine. Fiorucci also organized the Grand Opening of the legendary disco Studio 54 in 1977, an event attended by members of the international jet set like Bianca Jagger, Andy Warhol, and Grace Jones.
1981 saw the launch of the T-shirt and sweatshirt collection illustrated with Disney images, an enormous success that brought Fiorucci to the forefront of multi-national corporations, and made Micky Mouse a coveted icon even for adults. When Du Pont launched Lycra the following year, Fiorucci mixed the material with denim and the first stretch jeans were born: feminine, form-fitting, and seductive.
During the '90s, the Fiorucci brand was bought by the Japanese company Edwin International, the leading Made in Japan denim brand, and the Milanese flagship store transformed its retail formula, becoming a "showcase" for young, innovative brands.
The T-Art project was launched, a collection of T-shirts inspired by sweet, fairy-tale images, and the product became an immediate bestseller.
In 2003 the Fiorucci store ceded to the Swedish group H&M; Elio Fiorucci created a new project, "Love Therapy", offering a new, whimsical range of clothing, jeans, T-shirts, and accessories, represented by an entertaining logo of two elves. In 2004, Milan's Chamber of Commerce awarded the "Piazza Mercanti" award to Ennio Fiorucci for his career as a designer, talent scout, entrepreneur and communicator. In 2007, Milan's Triennale museum inaugurated the exhibit "The 1970s, the short century's long decade" in which a space, "Fiorucci Land" was dedicated to the designer—as a revolutionary and fashionable symbol of a generation.
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