Emilio Pucci dress

1987.022A-B: 1 piece silk dress with belt designed by Emilio Pucci.

Emilio Pucci was a famous Florentine fashion designer of the 20th century. He was most active in the years 1947-1970. His style is characterized by phrases like “psychedelic” and “kaleidoscopic” due to his heavy use of bright colours in non-linear organic patterns that appear to swirl with the wearer as she moves. This dress, donated to the Museum in 1987, is archetypal of his style with the use of vibrant greens, pinks and corals. He left his mark on each garment with a simple “Emilio” that can be seen here on the upper horizontal patterned strip across the chest.

Pucci was more than just a fashion designer. In the early 1940s, he enlisted in the Italian Air Force during the Second World War. His early designs were of ski gear he made for a close friend. Harper’s Bazaar subsequently photographed her, and the designs blew up. Soon after Pucci’s eccentric style was endorsed by Marilyn Monroe and then by 1960, Lauren Bacall, Jackie Kennedy, Ann-Margaret and Elizabeth Taylor all wore his designs. He also was an active politician for the Liberal Party in Italy. Between 1963-1972, he represented Florence in the Italian Parliament.

Pucci was one of the many designers of the 1970s that began to leave their brand name on the products they designed. Previously, women removed the brand names as this was seen to be too commercial. In this decade, Pucci and other designers started to brand their lines of clothing.

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