Fashion Designer Mariuccia Mandelli was born in 1933. She spent a lot of her childhood time in a friend’s dressmaking shop. She had trained as a teacher, and had begun selling skirts and dresses in 1951. Krizia is the name, Mariuccia Mandelli chose, to make her dream come true. She borrowed the name from the title of Plato’s unfinished dialogue on women’s vanity and spelt it with a K to make it sound more exotic. Plato’s Crizia is a man who squanders all his riches on jewellery and clothing for beautiful and compliant women. It is the beginning of the 1950s and Krizia, the designer, embarks on her adventure. With a friend, Flora Dolci, she rents two rooms in Milan which become her first design studio and workshop. The Krizia label is born on skirts. Dresses follow, in a fresh, young style, already featuring fitted sleeves framed by a flat smooth line. But it was tough at the beginning: making people appreciate her designs and obtaining loans from banks. In time, success is inevitable. Freedom of choice is her let motif. In 1954, helped by her husband Aldo Pinto, she formed a company Kriziamaglia, in Milan, Italy. Her fashion is adaptable to any lifestyle, situation or cultural revolution and still maintains a feminine touch. Over the years, Krizia’s constant research for new materials goes hand in hand with introducing new outlines. The first models she showed in public in 1957 included a series of fruit print dresses. Next come a striking black and white collection showed at the Pitti Palace in Florence in 1964. Pleating, careful attention to shoulders and the use of fanciful animals on her clothes are only some of the distinctive features that have recurrently turned Krizia’s creations into successes. She branched out into knitwear designs in 1967 and later into complete ranges of ready-to-wear clothes. Walter Albini worked at Krizia from 1960 to 1963 and Aldo Ferrante was also a designer there in the late 60’s. Mariuccia Mandelli always has the strong support of her husband Aldo Pinto, who looks after organization and commercial coordination. Mariucci Mandelli was honoured with the title Commendore of the Italian Republic in 1986. Today over 50 collections a year are created for the various Krizia labels, which includes menswear, children’s wear, knitwear, as well as glasses, handbags, ties, perfumery, kitchen furniture and much more. With the strong support of her husband Aldo Pinto, who is in charge of the company’s organizational and commercial coordination, Mariuccia Mandelli manages a growing enterprise with increasing sales worldwide. Greg Myler was the designer for Krizia from 1987 to 2000, when he left to join Mila Schon. Gianbattista Valli was the designer for the house of Krizia from 1995 to 1997, when he left to join Ungaro. In 2000, the Israeli designer Alber Elbaz, took over as chief designer at Krizia, after leaving YSL Rive Gauche ready-to-wear. However after only one brilliant collection, he left as they could not agree on terms. Elbaz went on to Lanvin. He was followed by Belgian designer Jean-Paul Knott, who joined Krizia in November 2001. However in February 2002, he parted from Krizia for reasons unknown. He had only designed two collections for Krizia. Mariuccia Mandelli, who is still very much a hands-on designer at her house, brought in English designer Hamish Morrow to add fresh ideas to the design. In February 2004 Hamish Morrow left Krizia as he said he found it impossible to fulfil his vision for the label. Mariuccia Mandelli would now oversee the label’s artistic direction with the help of a team of young designers. Mariuccia Mandelli has a part-time activity, designing hotels. She designed the K Clube which looks like a film set, and has in fact been used for shoots on many occasions. It is on the Caribbean island of Bermuda. Mandelli says that the creative approach is the same whether you are designing clothes or buildings. Krizia’s designs are always distinctive, clever, light-hearted and witty. They manage to retain considerable grace and glamour.
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