The Italian Renaissance

| March 12, 2014 | 0 Comments

by Miranda Likeman

Fashion and retail commentators are predicting an Italian renaissance and the re-emergence of classic Sicilian chic, the hourglass figure and saucy Roman style.  La Donna Moderna asks local style gurus what we can hope to experience for the rest of 2014 from the breadth of Italian masters…

The Italians do many things incomparably well: food, food, art and elite sports cars to name a few.  But it is in fashion that our expressive friends will be truly shaping the style landscape in 2014. Here are just a few ways to get a taste of la dolce vita (the sweet life)…

The Colour Purple


Image: Pantone

The Pantone Colour Institute announced their colour of 2014 is ‘Radiant Orchid’ (18-3224) which is a sumptuous deep purple. While international designers went for a gelato pastel palette on the SS14 runways; violet, which was once only worn by Roman Emperors and Catholic Bishops and is commonly associated with royalty, will be creeping in through winter to burst forth in the summer of 2015.

Hair Today


Image: Domenico Ghirlandaio via Wikimedia Commons

The intricately French braided hairstyles that have been so big over the past few years have evolved into a more relaxed, Italian Renaissance style perfect for the modern woman. Go for a loose, middle parted ponytail tied at the bottom of the neck, with lightly curled bangs to frame the face and a small headpiece. Think Leonardo’s ‘Ginevra de’ Benci’ and Domenico Ghirlandaio’s ‘Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni”, only far more urban casual.

Red Jewellery


Image: Kagi Jewellery

Jewellery was expensive during the Renaissance, since it was made of precious gems crafted by hand. So while the upper classes were bathed gold, jewels and pearls, others were only able to afford a simple string of bright red coral beads. Considered a symbol of youth, since you received a piece of jewellery when you were young, keeping and restringing it throughout your life; the red beaded necklaces seen in Italian Renaissance portraits of women are making a comeback. New Zealand label Kagi has two lengths of South Sea Red Coral necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pendants for you to tailor to your own taste and bring this look to the modern day.

Fashion and Art Collide

Gianfranco Ferre advert, Fall/Winter 1991. Model: Aly Dunne, Photographer: Gian Paolo Barbieri. ©GIANPAOLOBARBIERI

Image: Gianfranco Ferre advert, Fall/Winter 1991.
Model: Aly Dunne Photographer: Gian Paolo Barbieri. ©GIANPAOLOBARBIERI via V&A

From April until July 2014, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) are staging a major fashion exhibition focused on Italian glamour: further ramping up the profile of fashion and art collisions.  We believe savvy brands and retailers will pair up with the art world this year in order to differentiate credibly, because it’s a trend being set by some of the biggest players in the luxury industry, including upcoming beauts Valentino/Havaianas and Peter Pilotto for Target.

Blurring of seasons

The last day in February is officially the last day of summer and usually heralds the release of A/W ranges into most retailers in New Zealand, even though the sun sometimes shines long and hot well into April. The same increased blurring of seasonal divides is happening in the Northern Hemisphere, and coupled with the ability of international fashions to jump from catwalk to e-tail within weeks, we will see an increase in hardworking, easy travel, trans-seasonal pieces that wouldn’t look out of place whilst holidaying on the Rivera.



Image: Etruscan Pleasures

Italy offers you the chance to experience life as many feel it should be lived.  Art, architecture, cuisine, fashion and fine living are all enjoyed with a passion that is both unique and infectious.  Etruscan Pleasures is Susan and John, both discerning and experienced travellers who prefer to take travellers off the beaten track where you can see, feel, and taste the real culture of Italy.  Mix with the locals, stand at the bars drinking frothy cappuccinos, eat local fresh produce, drink regional wine in traditional restaurants and stay in luxurious hotels situated in the historic centres, surrounded by all the main attractions.  Italians who run these hotels and restaurants, the professional guides, the professional drivers are all personal friends, and they all love sharing their discoveries and delights in this beautiful country.

About the author:
Miranda Likeman has been every kind of journalist you could name. At present she writes mostly about fashion and beauty, subjects on which she has much experience, but not in a stuffy inaccessible way. She loves a bargain and making the affordable look expensive.

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