Thursday, March 26, 2009

From Italy to your summer wardrobe...

If you land at the Naples airport, you can get to the isle of Capri.......the fabled tiny island off the coast of Italy, situated westerly from just about where a buckle would be on the boot of Italy. The deliciously beautiful Grotta Azzurra...the Blue Grotto mesmerizes with the unreal beauty of light upon water. Capri's natural charms have inspired much wonderous art and useful things including fashions that have been created to celebrate the bright and cheery colors of the island's features, and to relive and inspire the feelings of comfort, beauty and fun!

Emilio Pucci has said he was inspired to create his iconic designs and the mind-blowing colors because of the beauty of Capri. We can forgive him then, perhaps, for being so Italian that he was a fan of Mussolini! Pucci was from a rich Italian family, an athlete, and also a fine skier with Olympian talent. On that strength he won a scholarship to Portland's Reed College where he designed his first small collection ....the college's ski team uniforms in the mid-30s.

Pucci set up his first haute couture house at the jet set resort of Canzone del Mare on the Isle of Capri after WWII. His skiwear was discovered by a Harper's Bazaar editor, and Mr. Marcus of Nieman Marcus encouraged him to design other garments, and Pucci responded with the early designs in the stunning color combos we swoon over.

The isle of Capri figures prominently in another design we are are so familiar with......the capri pants....those cute little 50s calf length pants that have resurged back into the fashion world. German designer, Sonja de Lennart, produced a collection just after WWII calling it the Capri Collection because of her family's love of the island.

Full skirts with wide belts were one of the first of Sonja's designs that became popular. But it was her 1948 design, the tight Capri pants, such a change from the Katherine Hepburn-style wide slacks, that took the world by storm. Designer Edith Head dressed Audrey Hepburn in capri pants, the skirt, the high-necked blouse and the wide belt....all designs by de Lennart, worn in Roman Holiday. Givenchy, a year later, dressed Audrey in de Lennart's capris in Sabrina.

From high fashion to everyday wear, movie stars and housewives, even the iconic Beatnik look of black turtleneck, capri pants, wide belt and flat shoes, can thank Sonja de Lennart.

I have these right now on the shorter length we called knee-knockers...

fyi... a little list of Pants lengths.....all fabulous!

Bermuda shorts, and clam diggers or walking shorts, are from thigh length to just below the knee, while traditional capri pants are generally calf to ankle length and are form-fitting, perhaps with a small v at the hem. Pants that are cropped and wide are called capri's, flood pants, or pedal pushers. And then of course, there are Man-pris!!