Editor’s note: Welcome to the second installment of a 3-part series on Haute Mess! This week I’ll be discussing something very close to my heart: Italian fashion.

Although I am American by birth, I’m Italian by blood. And, as all my followers, readers and friends know, fashion has been a strong personal interest of mine for as long as I can remember. Lucky for me, the two often overlap; after all, Italy is home to iconic labels like Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Missoni and La Perla. 

The shift from Europe to Asia is something I noticed on my own, and instantly thought it spoke volumes about the [fashion] industry as a whole. I collected and organized my thoughts into this 3-part essay that focuses on Fiorucci. While Fiorucci isn’t a household name in the same capacity brands like Gucci, Prada or Dolce & Gabbana are, it has been beyond influential for decades–so much so that, in some senses I will discuss, it represents a number of fashion labels as they take on the 21st Century. 

For a complete list of sources, click here


Fiorucci by Eve Babitz [source: ilovecatparty.blogspot.com]

Meanwhile on the business end, 1981 saw a couple big changes for Fiorucci. Benetton bought Montedison’s 50-percent stake in Fiorucci (which reduced to 33.3 percent in 1986), and Elio brought in Iranian businessman Massimo Aki Nuhi (i.e., Akinouhi) as a third partner via his holding company Aknofin. In August 1987, Benetton sold their remaining stake to Fiorucci and Aki Nuhi.

A combination of “thriving sales” (with which the company could not keep up) and “poor management” forced Fiorucci to close its Manhattan store in 1986.

Fiorucci’s New York storefront [source: Kickshaw Productions]

New York-based fashion designer Betsey Johnson said, “Fiorucci was the most happening place. It never stopped being happening—it just left New York City, because I don’t think New York City was happening enough by the mid-80s,” (Chaplin).

Two years later Fiorucci closed its remaining U.S. stores after a franchise dispute, and moved instead to a wholesale strategy. In April of the following year, Fiorucci went into administration after a dispute over the strategic direction of the firm that had seen Elio offer to buy-out Aki Nuhi (WWD).

It was then that the Tacchella brothers came to the rescue (Bannon).

Fiorucci by Eve Babitz [source: ilovecatparty.blogspot.com]

In January 1996, after a plea bargain, Elio was given a suspended jail sentence of 22 months for inflating the value of invoices to increase the value of the company to Carrera at the expense of his creditors (from Corriere della Sera, a). Luciano Benetton was cleared of similar charges “on the grounds that he had not been involved at an operational level during his time (September 1985-September 1987) on the board at Fiorucci,” (from Corriere della Sera, b).

The deal with Edwin was signed June 4, 1990 (and ratified October 1990), but Edwin did not gain control of the assets until May 1992, causing the company to lose the rights to the Fiorucci name in Canada on the grounds of disuse (Gamache).

Edwin’s first major act was a deal with Coles Myer, which led to 68 Fiorucci concessions in stores across Australia. A new store also opened in Piazza San Babila, Milan in early 1993; it included a variety of branded boutiques (Forden).

[source: fashiontimes.it]

However, things were very different on the North American front. Later that year a deal fell through with Mary Ann Wheaton of Wheaton International (Gordon). It was not until 1995 when Edwin was able to license the rights for eyewear in the U.S. to Swan International Optical (Parr).

Although Fiorucci opened a U.S. office in September of 1997 (Parr), the strategy of their licensee, Stephen Budd, to sell the brand into U.S. department stores was not successful (Chaplin). Two years later, the label announced its plan to open a U.S. store in time for the holiday season. However, the store on lower Broadway did not open until June 2001. (Chaplin)

Kim Hastreiter (a commentator) was “skeptical that [Fiorucci] could recapture the buzz of times passed, given the increased competition in mass-market clubbing gear from the likes of H&M and The Limted,” (Chaplin).

[source: Pinterest]

While the brand continued to thrive in Europe during 1995, a campaign for jeans featuring a naked woman’s behind and pink furry handcuffs restored (some) former notoriety, and the jeans became “instant bestsellers,” (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps).

The year 1999 saw the launch of a successful perfume, and two years later Fiorucci launched another successful fragrance. In 2003 the label launched Miss Fiorucci, a makeup line. Meanwhile, Edwin aggressively expanded the brand throughout Asia, from Seoul to Tokyo and China. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

Elio “retained creative control during the Edwin era,” and the new owners were “protective of the Fiorucci trademarks.” In fact, they “took legal action against H&M when Elio designed H&M’s poolside line” (Orso) and designed for Agent Provacteur.

[source: Ganzo]

[source: Love Magazine]

A 1987 Fiorucci ad [source: Pinterest]

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I didn’t know it was possible to feel sexy in cords until I pulled on this burnt orange pair by Fiorucci. By now I’m sure all my readers know my obsession with the Italian label–it was featured in my November favs, plus my 3-part series on its influence on the fashion industry is underway this week.

After having my eyes on these logo-emblazoned corduroy pants since their debut, I snagged them (for 20%-off!) on Black Friday. (Side note: Fiorucci’s shipping is amazing–my parcel arrived in N.J. from the U.K. in less than a week, and their packaging is so fun.)

Not only are these quite possibly the most flattering skinny pants I’ve ever worn (I tend to stick to baggy, boyfriend styles because that’s what looks best on my figure), they’re comfortable. Basically, they fit like a glove. Plus, how cool are they?! I can’t get enough.

This week I paired them with a slouchy sweatshirt because temperatures have been freezing here (it snowed twice last week). I’ve spent so much time in L.A. lately that it actually took me a minute to get used to dressing for fall and winter this year. But now that I’m back in the North East for a while, I’m starting to get the hang of it again.

As much as I wanted to polish off this look with a pair of heeled booties, I decided to go for my Adirondack boots; I’ve been doing booties way too often. They definitely added to the cord’s cozy winter vibes. And, they preform much better in the snow, anyway. I also added a chunky knit scarf for extra warmth and texture.

I’ll definitely be pairing these cords with skimpy tank tops and cropped t-shirts as weather gets warmer, but for now, I’m enjoying all my knits and sweatshirts. My day-to-day style tends to have a casual, borrowed-from-the-boys steez, so I know my new Fiorucci cords will be an investment that pays off for years to come.

What I’m wearing:

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Editor’s note: Welcome to the first installment of a 3-part series on Haute Mess! This week I’ll be discussing something very close to my heart: Italian fashion.

Although I am American by birth, I’m Italian by blood. And, as all my followers, readers and friends know, fashion has been a strong personal interest of mine for as long as I can remember. Lucky for me, the two often overlap; after all, Italy is home to iconic labels like Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Missoni and La Perla. 

The shift from Europe to Asia is something I noticed on my own, and instantly thought it spoke volumes about the [fashion] industry as a whole. I collected and organized my thoughts into this 3-part essay that focuses on Fiorucci. While Fiorucci isn’t a household name in the same capacity brands like Gucci, Prada or Dolce & Gabbana are, it has been beyond influential for decades–so much so that, in some senses I will discuss, it represents a number of fashion labels as they take on the 21st Century. 

For a complete list of sources, click here


A peek inside Amsterdam’s Fiorucci store, which contained a cafe. [source: CNN]

Perhaps no other brand in (modern) history has been more influential to fashion than Milan-born Fiorucci. Credited with designing the first pair of women’s fashion jeans, it is really quite a shock that Fiorucci is not more of a household name, compared to other high-end labels like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

In the 1990s, in an effort to save the failing brand, the Tacchella brothers (of Italian jeans company Carrera S.P.A.) sold Fiorucci to Japanese jeans group Edwin Co., Ltd. for 45 billion Lire (or approximately $41 million USD). This created a domino effect that saw other major Italian labels, such as sportswear giant Fila, move to Asia.

Two angels [source: Pinterest]

But the story starts in 1962 when Milan native Elio Fiorucci, the son of a shoe shop owner, created bright, primary color galoshes. His idea went on to be featured in a local fashion magazine and were a sensation.

After traveling to London in 1965, a 20-year-old Elio was inspired to bring Carnaby Street style back to Milan. Two years later, Elio opened his first shop in Milan, which sold clothes by London designers such as Ossie Clark and Zandra Rhodes. Still today, Fiorucci marries London street style with Dolce Vita luxury.

It was in 1968 that Elio began taking inspiration from the East. He sold cheap t-shirts from India and turned rice sacks into handbags.

By the mid-1970s the Fiorucci label was thriving. A huge new store on Milan’s Via Torino opened, selling not only fashion, but books, furniture and music. It had a live performance area, a vintage clothing market and a restaurant. The company set up its own manufacturing plant four years prior, and adopted its infamous “two angels” logo from Italo Lupo. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

The store was financed by an investment from Standa department stores (part of Montedison group). (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

Monokini [source: Pinterest]

During this time, the label introduced Europe to styles from Brazil, such as the monokini and the thong. It also caused quite a controversy by printing topless women in its advertisements. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

Fiorucci opened its first overseas store in 1975 on London’s King’s Road; it launched a children’s collection called Fioruccino that same year. The label also brought Afghan coats to the mass market and popularized leopard-skin prints, which were first created by Elsa Schiaparelli two decades prior. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

The label made its way to the U.S. in 1976 when it opened a store on East 59th street, between Lexington and Park Avenues, in New York City—down the block from Bloomingdale’s. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps).

Customers included fashion designers Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein, Jackie Onassis and Gloria Vanderbilt, actress Lauren Bacall, British mogul Terence Conran, Cher (Chaplin), author Douglas Coupland (Colman) and Juan Carlos I, the King of Spain (Lahr).

As the brand continued to thrive, it hired big-name employees by the 1980s. Fiorucci’s art director was designer Maripol, who created Madonna’s looks at the time. Other notable names included Madonna’s brother Christopher Ciccone, i-D magazine’s Terry Jones, Oliviero Toscani (who shot many famous Benetton ads) and famed interior designer Jim Walrod (Chaplin).

Late actress Farrah Fawcett in Fiorucci jeans [source: CNN]

Fiorucci’s hottest new products at the time included a collection made from DuPont’s Tyrek fabric and velvet slippers from China. And in 1978, Fiorucci became the first fashion house to license its name for a collection of sunglasses. New stores launched across the U.S., Europe and Asia. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

Three years later in 1981, a Disney license led to a highly successful range of Mickey Mouse pieces. That same year, Fiorucci sponsored the reunion of Simon and Garfunkel at The Concert In Central Park, which attracted more than 400,000 attendees. A then-unknown Madonna played the labels birthday party in 1983. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

A 1974 Fiorucci ad [source: The Historialist]

In 1982, however, Fiorucci launched the first-ever stretch jeans with Lycra. The success of the label’s 5-pocket “safety” jeans was recognized three years later in a licensing deal with Wrangler Jeans. And in 1989, Fiorucci went back to its British roots with a deal with Vivienne Westwood (i.e., the “queen of the London street scene”). (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

Per a video interview by Il Bel Gioco, Elio Fiorucci says, “I changed denim, which was working clothing, into something [that] makes the [wearer] beautiful.”

[Source: Il Bel Gioco via YouTube]
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One of the best things about the holiday season is getting to experiment with different looks you may not get to during the rest of the year! Holiday parties give you the chance to get a little shinier, a little sparklier and to generally kick things up a notch.

While I’d normally wear these vinyl pants with a band tee or oversized knit, I paired them with a more interesting texture combo for a holiday party at Rumpus Room in East Village last week.

I went with a long-sleeved mesh top in a beige-y nude color so that it didn’t distract from the statement-making pants. To keep covered I added a lacy bra underneath; I opted for classic black, which tied into the pants.

When it came to shoes, I had *such* a hard time deciding between two of my go-to’s: black booties and nude pumps. After all, both matched my look and both give me a major boost. I ended up going with the booties because a) it was super cold out and, b) my pumps aren’t in the best shape–I think it’s time to invest in a new pair. (Leave any suggestions in the comments below please.)

Speaking of the cold…I also wore my warmest coat, a gray faux fur teddy by BB Dakota. Then, I polished off the look with a pair of personalized hoop earrings and my favorite chain belt for a little more variety in texture.

Shop my look:

Top, I.Am.Gia

Bra, Free People

Vinyl pants, thrifted, similar here

Belt, thrifted, similar here

Shoes, Free People, no longer available, similar here

Coat, BB Dakota, no longer available similar here & here

Earrings, The M Jewelers

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I know it has been a minute since I’ve shared a monthly favorites with HM readers. But, I just can’t avoid it any longer; there are a *ton* of new things I have really been loving lately that I need to share with my readers.

Besides Prince Harry’s royal engagement (eep!), I put together a post on everything else I’ve been obsessing over this month (hint: there’s a ton from Sephora’s VIB sale). Now excuse me while I go scroll through Meghan Markle boards on Pinterest…

Fiorucci: By now everyone on here knows my obsession with Devon Carlson, one of the designers behind Wildflower Cases. Through her I’ve discovered some of my favorite people, places and things (like Girl At The White Horse, an L.A. bar). Arguably the coolest, though, is Fiorucci, an Italian label that mixes Dolce Vita luxury with British street style.

Back and better than ever, Fiorucci is one of the most unique labels on the market today–and it has such a rich history. As an Italian girl myself, I quickly fell in love with Fiorucci, but held out until Black Friday to order a few things from their site. To me, their pieces are casual, yet structured, with the perfect amount of sexy for everyday life.

Unlike a lot of other high-end labels, Fiorucci creates pieces I actually want to wear and that I can feel like myself in. I’ll most likely end up creating a lookbook (or two!) focusing on the pieces I bought, but for now I’ll link my favorites here, here and here.

Neisy Bra by Are You Am I: I picked this bra up at the AYAI showroom in Downtown Los Angeles last month, and I have barely taken it off since. Like everything from Are You Am I, this piece fits beautifully; it’s seriously like second skin.

And not only is it comfortable, it looks the part, too. Comfortable bras that are also pretty are super hard to come by–especially when you have a bigger chest. Its thick strips complement the thin rib detail on the cup portion (while providing a little extra support), and it has a gorgeous gold clasp detail on the back.

Unfortunately, this baby is out of stock. But, you can’t go wrong with anything from AYAI. I Promise 😉

Bali Body Shimmering Body Oil: You guys already know how much I love Bali Body’s skincare range; while I can’t make it through the summer months without their Watermelon Tanning Oil SPF 6, their BB Cream is my holy grail year-round.

Just in time for the holidays the Aussie cult-favorite brand debut their Shimmering Body Oil, and it definitely delivers. Unlike their tanning oils, though, Shimmering Body Oil is meant to be worn with *or without* the sun.

It instantly bronzes the skin while giving you a shimmering (duh!) golden glow. And because it’s from BB, it’s insanely nourishing, moisturizing and smells amazing–even better than their original coconut body oil in my opinion.

I love using it on top of–or sometimes instead of–BB’s Bronzing Lotion for that fresh-from-vacay look anytime, anywhere. Shimmering Body Oil, balibody.co

Too Faced Melted Liquified Lipstick in Chihuahua: Ever since I picked up MAC’s Persistence over the summer, I’ve been loving a bold nude lip. Too Faced’s Melted formula has been a favorite of mine for more than two years, so during Sephora’s VIB sale I picked up this shade.

Chihuahua is the perfect match for nearly any eye look, and this high-impact formula can’t be beat: it provides a glossy shine without sacrificing bold color payoff.

Unlike other liquid lipsticks, there’s no need to babysit this formula all day (or night!) long. And because it feels hydrating, lightweight and comfortable, has been my go-to lip color all month long–I even wore it on Thanksgiving! $21, sephora.com

MAC Cosmetics Frost Lipstick in Pink, You Think?: While Chihuahua has been my everyday lip, MAC’s Pink, You Think? has been my go-to for special occasions.

I ventured to L.A. twice in November, and I always love experimenting with fun colors when I’m out there (more so than when I am home on the East Coast). So, this lippie came along for the ride both times.

When I wore this hot neon pink lipstick (with blue pearlescent undertones) for the first time, I paired it with a gray cat-eye look. And the second time I went for a semi-coordinating pearlescent pink eye look. On both occasions, though, this lip color was a hit.

The neon pink hue is stunning, and it doesn’t look weird when it starts to disappear; on me it fades into a sun-kissed coral color. I never see this shade going out of style. $17.50, maccosmetics.com

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask: This was another Sephora VIB sale purchase. After hearing a ton of my fellow Glossier Reps gush about this product, I finally gave into the temptation (couldn’t resist that 20-percent off deal).

I was a little hesitant at first because my skin can be pretty sensitive, but figured with the discount and Sephora’s killer return policy, the risk was minimal.

Not only does it smell amazing, it actually gets the job done! As I’ve gotten older, I noticed my skin (which is normally on the oily side) gets a little dry and somewhat irritated during the colder months. So, I need something extra in my routine to keep my complexion hydrated this time of year.

Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer is great after cleansing, toning and serum-ing, but Watermelon Glow definitely gives my skin that boost it needs before bedtime. $45, sephora.com

Ouai Hair Oil: If you read one of my previous posts, you know I also *finally* tried a few products from the Ouai during Sephora’s VIB sale. While I love everything I picked up, Hair Oil is the stand-out product for me; I find myself reaching for this guy nearly every day.

The nourishing blend of ingredients protects hair from heat damage while mending split ends. And for me, one pump is enough to tame the fly-aways around my face–the best part? I no longer need heat tools to do that!

I’ll also apply Hair Oil to dry tresses before bed to help strengthen my hair overnight. $28, sephora.com

The Fashion Law (website): I’ve been super busy wrapping up my thesis proposal, so I haven’t had too much time to read for pure pleasure. Thankfully, I love my field of research, especially when it gives me the chance to catch up on The Fashion Law, one of my favorite sites for several years now.

TFL has always been my go-to for keeping up with the industry. But more importantly, it was a huge influence in selecting my research topic.

While big names like Vogue and Marie Claire focus heavily on celebrity and pop culture-related content, TFL provides meaningful, in-depth pieces on the industry’s law and business–and it’s still fun to read. The more I learn about the industry, the more I can appreciate that.

Because TFL has been such a big part of my life lately, I decided to include it in my favorites this month even though I’ve been keeping up with it since 2014.

Honorable mentions: Wowder in Light/Medium by Glossier, Daily Oil Wash by Glossier, Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha by Fenty Beauty, Bronzing Lotion by Bali Body, kirakira+ (iPhone app), Sweatsuit in Camel Khaki by Danielle Guizio NY

What have you been loving this month?

What fashion and beauty items have you been reaching for the most? Are there any inspiring or informative books, magazine articles or blogs I should check out? Let me know your current lifestyle favorites in the comments down below! Xx

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