As Italy took a day off work for Labour Day on the 1st of May, the same day the nation was celebrating the inauguration of the Expo in Milan, I took my long weekend with Italian style, dedicating this post to all things Italian.
I love living in Florence. Seriously, I didn’t think I would as much as I have. The people I’ve met are lovely, despite what others have warned of un-polite Florentines, the food and culture can’t be beaten and the work I’m doing here keeps me interested and inspired. Having a free day means I can just walk through the streets of Florence, finding secret spots and admiring the beautiful scenery.
In previous posts, I have mentioned that Florence in the home of Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci, both of which have made a great contribution to the Made in Italy brand. So what does “Made in Italy” actually mean today? It is defined as a merchandising mark indicating that the unique product, from all four industries; fashion, food, furniture and automobiles, is produced and packed in Italy.
The term therefore encompasses a set of values with positive connotations. “Italian” means elegance, of high quality, romantic, sexy, young and cosmopolitan. Throughout the years, the world has recognised Italy with these qualities. The Italian Metamorphosis: 1943-68 exhibition in 1994 held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York traced the origin of the cult of Italy, articles such as Giannino Malossi in Volare: The Icon of Italy in Global Pop Culture and Luigi Settembrini in Made In Italy? 1951-2001 celebrated the country’s triumphs, and analysed its crises. What each investigation agrees with is that the Rome of antiquity, the Renaissance and the Risorgimento, solidified the county’s position as a continuous tourist destination, as well as a place of artistic and architectural beauty.
The beauty of Italian cities is without a doubt the piazzas, architectural ruins, palaces, statues, and monuments. There is a type of splendour walking among Italian streets, almost imagining yourself living during the Roman Empire. Many films have captured this type of beauty, of the streets such as Roman Holiday in 1953, Cleopatra in 1963 and more recently the hugely successful La Grande Bellezza. La Dolce Vita from 1960 defines “the sweet and beautiful Italian lifestyle” for admirers around the world. The actors in these films all portrayed an Italian style by wearing Italian fashion, driving Italian cars and living in fantastic locations. By the 1980s, the “Italian look” had conquered Hollywood and the red carpets of the world, bringing the Italian Style and the Made in Italy brand recognizable and important.
Artisan traditions are crucial to Italy’s allure and what the country represents. One aspect of the romance behind the “Made in Italy” appeal is the notion of Italy as a country made of local dialects, folk traditions, and regional cooking. It is those old-fashioned traditions and knowledge passed from workshop to workshop, from generation to generation that aided the success of the Made in Italy brand. Italy’s economic landscape is made of small industries, regional districts and local production branches, which allow for complete quality control at every stage of manufacturing which is a unique feature in today’s industrial world. The combination of artisan traditions and state-of-the-art industrial research, along with the factory’s capacity to immediately respond and adjust to specific client requests and market niches, are assets that are particularly sought after in the design and fashion industries.
A brand such as Gucci may be the perfect example of an Italian company that exemplifies the particular Italian blend of craftsmanship with industrial scale. With firm local roots, based in Florence and with an international clientele; aristocratic fascination with mass distribution; and high quality products possessing Italy’s singular magic have made the brand and others similarly exclusive and distinct. From Vespa to Gucci’s Jackie bag; from the Poltrona Frau armchair to the Armani jacket, “Made in Italy” means much more than what the communal customs law says: “The good obtained in a country are deemed to originate from the same country.”
The concept of “Made in Italy” is more subtle than it appears, especially when it comes to the question of how to define what the country claims as its own. As far back as the Renaissance, Italian artisans were using raw goods from around the world; evidence of the importance Italians see in subtle distinctions of origin have been written into customs law as well: “A good whose production required the contribution of two or more countries comes from the country where the final substantial, economically justified processing or manufacturing by a sufficiently equipped firm took place, which resulted in the creation of a new product or represented an important phase in the production process.”
The protection of “Made in Italy”
Manufactures in Italy safeguard the authenticity of products by ensuring geographic origin is precise and controlled. Preservation of artisan traditions and passing ancient techniques to future generations, contributes to the protection of “Made in Italy” maintaining the Italian Dream.
Valerie Steel analyses the development of Italian fashion and its history in her book Fashion, Italian Style. The “Italian Look” is more important than “Made in Italy.” The passion for research, innovation and experimentation without giving in to difficulties remains one of the fundamental characteristics of the Italian manufacturers.
Today, Italy is dealing with a concept that is unstable, whose definition is changing along with the political and economical perspectives of the country as a whole. Therefore, it is necessary to reinforce the ideas of creativity, imagination and versatility; the values that remain a defining quality of the Italian character.
Modernity and Tradition
Angela Caputi jewellery is considered both fashion and art. Her designs are recognized for their creativity and constant development. Research goes into creating every detail, from the line, shapes to colours, using the simplest materials. The jewellery is an expression of eternity and femininity, through modernity mixed with traditional handicraft.
Recommended by a friend to pay a visit after I mentioned my jewellery obsession, I was told this was a Florentine jeweller that was not to be missed. Angela Caputi creates intricate, detailed jewellery from plastic, well-known for working with Haute Couture. Her modern styling with traditional handman craftsmanship is what attracts the client, to the produce of striking statement jewellery for stylish women.
Angela Caputi was established in 1975, when she started producing jewellery pieces inspired by the glamour of 1940s Hollywood films. Until this day, she holds on to the “Made in Italy” label, with her pieces featuring in fashion exhibitions around the world. Each design is unique, combining colourful contrasts to create sophisticated, original and refined bijoux.
Angela Caputi adores to mix various materials, creating always particular combinations of colours and textures. The outcome is coloured, original jewellery, made in plastic and synthetic materials something unique which is her personal trademark.