Alta Moda was founded in Florence in 1951 by Giovanni Battista Giorgini, a wealthy Italian, entrepreneur who used his background as a diplomat to understand the tastes and also the requirements of the American market to export Italian fashion (G.B. Giorgini Archive, 2002). Giorgini wanted to change the image of the Italian fashion industry, which had a history of copying French fashion instead of designing their own.
The event led to success for Italian fashion and Giorgini kept forming the Italian nation brand and the trademark Made in Italy throughout his career. Many call him ,,the man who created fashion show in Italy”. Today there is an Italian businessman in fashion who has great similarities to Giorgini, the owner and inheritor of the Italian fashion brand Tods, Mr. Diego Della Valle (Vogue, 2012).
For example Della Valle supports the Opera house of Milan, he rescued Fiorentina an Italian soccer team from bankruptcy, he invested in Cinecità the Roman film studio and he personally invested 30 million euros to fund the restoration of Colosseum in Rome. Della Valle also promotes the Italian artisans and craftsmanship by keeping and expanding Tods’ manufacturing in Italy.
Della Valle suggests (Vogue, 2012) that building the Italian brand is to preserve Italian culture and to show international customers why they should buy Italian products. In the coffee table book of Tods he explains why it is important to build the nation brand Made in Italy; ”It is a way to show a northern Chinese customer, for example, who we are through portraits of our culture, our DNA, our style. Together with art, food, and beautiful places that are also very Italian” (Ilari, 2012).
Valentino is the only fashion brand who have been able to make Alta Moda since the start of their brand (Vogue, 2011) until today. Versace launched their Alta Moda line Atelier Versace in 1989, and in the past decade three Italian fashion brands were added to the Alta Moda brands; Armani Privé in 2005, Gucci Première in 2010 (The premiere of Gucci Première, 2010) and Dolce & Gabbana in 2012 (Leitch 2013).
Alta Moda is the Italian term for the high fashion industry. It is the Italian version of the French term Haute couture. In other words it is “high sewing” or “high dressmaking” or “high fashion” or creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. The clothing items that are made by hand from start to finish.
They are made from high-quality, expensive, often unusual fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable sewers. The process itself is quite time-consuming therefore this items are very expensive.
The Alta Moda or Haute couture garments are usually made for a specific client, tailored specifically for the wearer’s measurements and they are unique.
But have you ever wondered who buys this? Usually this kind of buyers are hiding behind the veils, or asking for a private appointments. At Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda events, the clients are less evasive. Inevitably not all of them intend to buy every time but some items are hard to resist. The starting prices usually hover at €60,000.
Each outfit is unique and one-off. It’s first come, first serve, so the tension mounts as Dolce and Gabbana’s beloved arias float on the soundtrack. By the time emotions have synchronized with the music, and goals are focused on garments, you can almost taste the competitive acquisitiveness between the buyers. Therefore each year Dolce & Gabbana’s collection grows bigger and bigger with more items to show, in order to avoid customers disappointment.
At this events you can see high society mothers and daughters choosing the clothes together. Aristocrats and also members of the royal families are some of the frequent visitors. While other couture shows last 20 minutes tops, Dolce & Gabbana have turned theirs Alta Moda shows into a three-day events, during which they reveal their couture men collections and jewelry collections.
They always keep the location secret until the last day in order to protect the privacy of their guests and keep the suspense high. Cocktails, dinners, dancing, private museum tours, it’s all laid on for the guests arranged by Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce. The guests of course adore it. So, yes there are people who buy this kind of garments and they don’t mind who knows about it.
These Dolce & Gabbana’s 3 days events has approximately around 200 of the most valuable couture clients. To be able to enter this super rich event, all you need is an invitation. But you have to be one of their existing couture clients if you wish to get this invitation. They also invite around 40 of their favorite fashion reporters so if you are one of them you also may get the invitation. They always arrange their guests transport and accommodation. Through these events they are developing their relationship with their clients. Despite the fact that most of the fashion shows are kind of uptight, this one is more relaxed and friendly.
For me as a fashion lover and huge fan of Dolce & Gabbana work it would be a dream come truth to attend one of this Alta Moda events. Unfortunately it will remain a dream, thanks to my poor financial resources. At least we can watch some of the videos and photos on internet and take a small glimpse of the aristocratic atmosphere on these events, also the inspiration and information about the last fashion trends and the incredibly beautiful hand-made fashion garments.