The world is made of famous couples, of men and women who support and complement each other. Bonnie and Clyde, Marie and Pierre Curie and who could forget Odysseus and Penelope. These fictitious and very real couples embody the saying” two minds are better than one”. And in this egregious list, we could add Alberto Fabiani and his wife Simonetta Colonna di Cesaro.
Alberto Fabiani and his wife Simonetta
Alberto Fabiani was born in Rome in 1910. The son of two tailors, Fabiani’s future was written in the stars. After an internship in Paris he returned to Rome where he took over his parent’s atelier. Fabiani’s uncluttered style was mostly appreciatable on suits, chemises, ponchos and coats.
Fabiani was in touch with the current trends each season, but his pieces were classics that always came back into fashion. And despite his conservatism, he was also an innovator, creating new trends, especially during the 1950s,such as the cocoon silhouette and pleated column dresses. His tent coats, introduced in 1960, were a hit. These silhouettes are still visible today on the catwalks.
Duchess Simonetta Colonna di Cesareo, later Visconti by marriage burst on the couture scene in 1946. In 1949, aptly at a fashion show, she met her second husband, fellow designer Alberto Fabiani and it was love at first sight- the couple and married in 1952.
Simonetta's youthful style held a special appeal, especially in the buoyant silk cocktail dresses, elegant debutante dresses, and ball gowns she created in the 1950s, with their emphasis on the bust. Her youthful sportswear included a two-part playsuit with cummerbund and bloomer shorts while her more grown up fashion was headed by a silk shantung dress-suit with tiered collar. Simonetta’s designs made her a hit in America, much more than her husband, and some of her most notable clients were Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn.
After a short stint in Paris, where they attempted to join up their labels, the couple disbanded with Fabiani returning to his native Rome, and Simonetta moving to India where she set up a leper’s colony.
Written by: Valentina Zannoni