Back in the 60s and early 70s, Florence was the home of Italian fashion and twice a year, seven designers were handpicked to present their collection at Pitti Palace – a highly prestigious event.
After the designers had presented their collections, the garments were sold at Palazzo Strozzi across the river. We always made sure to book Hotel De La Ville for our visits because it was one street over from Palazzo Strozzi, which didn’t have a bathroom.
This invitation is from 1971-72 – one of the last times designers ever presented at Pitti Palace thanks to the now famous 1967 showing, which was the beginning of the end for the Pitti Palace. At the 1967 showing, which I also attended, Missoni had been invited to show their collection and Rosita was presenting transparent rayon tops. She was very concerned that all the models were wearing different coloured bras so she asked that they remove them.
The manager in charge of the show was so disgusted at the braless models parading around Pitti Palace that he told Rosita that Missoni would never be invited back. Rosita responded by presenting Missoni’s collections in Milan instead and Krizia, who were very close friends of Rosita, decided they would also present in Milan. Over time, all the designers followed suit and the event at the Pitti Palace died, with Milan taking over from Florence as the home of Italian fashion – a reputation it retains to this day.