ALBINI WALTER (Albini Gualtiero Angelo)

(1941 – 1983; Italy) Albini was a great innovator of the Italian Fashion, in terms of style and type of fashion shows. After attending an institute of art and fashion in Turin and had done some sketches for fashion magazines, he moved to Paris for four years, where he met Chanel: he remained stunned and this is why he will take inspiration from her for his style.

He starts working for famous fashion houses, like Krizia, and he creates her first collection in ’63. In ’69 in Florence he presents a collection called “Misterfox” for the textile businessman Luciano Papini, which is a huge success, so much as to not be able to meet the demands: here comes the agreement with the FTM (the initials of the company of three fashion entrepreneurs), which undertakes the management of the distribution of its collections.

From ’70 he works for Montedoro, creating designs for men and women characterized by a remarkable uniformity of cuts and colors (the formula “uni-max”) and in ’72 he decides to present in Milan a full line including the 5 lines designed for all the companies he worked for, presenting together all the sectors. Many people imitate him, and in this way rises the prêt-à-porter made in Italy and the presentation of the collections in Milan (and not in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, as was usual, because it became inadequate, a little for the short time every Maison had at its disposal and a little because it was a melting pot of styles). The rest of the world calls him a “rising star” immediately, Italy on the other hand will understand his innovations later.

In the London Fashion Show in ’73 Albini presents his first line of image, very strong and driving, with the idea of a restricted sales, supported by a second easier collection, for the vast number: this formula will become an example to follow. In this occasion the designer creates the famous “unstructured jacket”, a jacket-shirt, which will have successful in fashion later in the future.

Also regarding the locations, Albini wants to enchant, using unusual places, such as “I vivai del Sud” in Rome, the Caffè Florian in Venice and inside a eating house in Brera Area in Milan.

Famous are his cashmere fabrics (which will be used also in furnishings), lines, polka dots, flats shoes, pied-de-poule and Wales printed on silk and velvet. He creates also the “total look”, characterized by a remarkable attention to details, like the accessories. He is also the promoter of what will be known as the “Italian look”, characterized by an unapproachable luxury. Another innovation in the fashion shows is about making a collection only for men, independent from the woman one.

There are many constants in his style: the hills plates, baggy pants, Bermuda shorts, knit caps down over his forehead, ’30s style, the jackets with belt, the jacket-shirt, two-tone shoes and the first combat boots. We owe him the new woman with chemises, jacket and pants.

His motto was “use the past to reinvent the fashion.”