Fiorucci: Made in Italy in the global age
As Sofia Coppola once said: “My life was never the same”, referring to the the first time she went to a Fiorucci store. The Italian brand founded in Milan by Elio Fiorucci in 1967 was all about glamour, pop culture and “less is more”. Elio’s idea was to incorporate London’s swinging lifestyle with American aesthetics. He wanted to show that fashion could also be something to have fun to. He was a visionary, bringing elements from common people’s “boring” life and turning them into high fashion. Everyone wanted to be cool like them.
Fiorucci was a fashion brand but it didn’t stop them from doing politics. Not like Oliviero Toscani at Benetton, but in their own way. “It’s a different way of seeing politics and social behaviour. It’s not that one is politics and the other is aesthetics. The aesthetics are the politics.” declared Toscani. Fiorucci’s vision of the world was to dream, to controvert and to doubt all the time. Toscani also said that he wouldn’t consider Fiorucci as belonging to Italy, it was a global brand, after all. The brand was great because it didn’t have boundaries, it wasn’t about nationalities. With italian roots, Fiorucci was born as an attempt to change Italy’s traditional dressing. But it wasn’t only about fashion, it was about creating a legacy. The recognizable “Safety Jeans” would show people what Fiorucci was about. It was about freedom, changes, rediscover and equality.
The first Fiorucci store was opened in 1967 with a performance area, a vintage clothes market and a restaurant. But when Elio had to come with a fifteen-year anniversary party for the brand, he wanted pop singer Madonna to play at the event. When she started singing everyone started asking “Who’s that girl?”. Capturating figures like Grace Jones and Debbie Harry, Maripol, the french photographer who was documenting the period at the time, had no idea how valuable her polaroids would become. Fiorucci’s consumer were the smart kids and that was what made the brand so special and admired.
In 1975, Fiorucci started to live its best moments, opening stores in London, New York, Beverly Hills and Amsterdam. Douglas Copuland, canadian writer and artist, would describe Elio’s empire as a design laboratory. In 1984, Fiorucci flagship store in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele was spray painted by Keith Haring, as the collection theme would be something like “Tintin Visits Antarctica”. Companies only started becoming politicized in the 2000s, followed by the Fiorucci kind of consumer and its desire to become adults as quickly as possible.
Fiorucci wasn't about the label, it was a graphic fashion company. Their iconic t-shirts, jeans and jackets were all about retro America and pin-up girls in space. Some people would see Fiorucci as chaotic, but Terry Jones, who was working on Fiorucci’s visual image, had the freedom to do whatever he wanted with the brand, but always keeping Elio’s spirit. It wasn't chaotic, it was creative. The italian label would rarely pay for advertising, because they didn’t need nor wanted to. This way of thinking generated a Fiorucci-only edition, their own self-published fanzine in Los Angeles, carrying news about store openings.
In the modern age, where everyone wants to stay online and anonymous, Fiorucci brings back the passion for actual objects, such as posters, badges, lunch boxes, diaries and sticker books. Elio’s excitement on human energy and connecting people were the factors that drove people mad about the brand, and what made figures like Andy Warhol, Cher and Elizabeth Taylor their admirers. Fiorucci wasn’t an established label but it had a frenetic energy and chaos. For the north american designer Marc Jacobs, it doesn’t matter having all the ingredients if you don’t have people around you that are genuine and authentic to make your idea happen. For him, Fiorucci felt friendly because it was an open brand willing to share their thinking, it wasn’t about exclusivity.
In an era where everyone wants to reconnect to their human side, Fiorucci reopens its doors targeting a not-so-specific consumer, rather than focusing on age, gender or demographic area, the label wants to bring back its nostalgic passion, optimism and happiness into the global age while keeping its “Made in Italy” roots. For those who want to live the Fiorucci way, wear it or read about it, you can find a exclusive capsule collection at 10 Corso Como along with its new book, or buy the entire range directly on Fiorucci’s website, or even go to their new store at Soho in London.