Giovanni Fercioni’s passion for fashion was shaped by the Savoy Royals, directed by a great Italian journalist, his designs were worn by some of the most imposing industrialist wives of the times and controversial political figures. His talent and eye for styles guaranteed Fercioni’s relevance throughout the century and his legacy today.
Giovanni Fercioni outside his atelier in Milan.
Giovanni Tranquillo Fercioni was born in 1886. His father was a clerk for the Savoy royal family and the Fercioni family resided for a time at the San Rossore hunting estate in Tuscany. Here a young Giovanni was seduced by the grand dresses worn by the royals and their guests.
Giovanni Frecioni in his atelier with models and clients.
In the early 1900s Giovanni Fercioni started practicing as a tailor and became skilled in men’s ceremonial wear such as tuxedos and tailcoats. He opened his own atelier in 1910. His admiration for flamboyant, royal clothing also brought Fercioni into costume design and he found himself designing clothes for productions, cinematographers and journalists. In fact, it was one of the era’s most influential journalists from the Corriere della Sera, Renato Simoni that persuaded Fercioni to enter into womenswear.
A Fercioni evening dress, 1933
Fercioni’s eye for detail and love of grand fashion made him a talented bridal and eveningwear designer. His formal ware made him a favourite of big name industrialist brides such as Virginia Mondadori and Virginia Agnelli. Fercioni’s elegant fashion and attention to detail earned him a following of contemporary stars and muses, actresses Valentina Cortese and Alida Valli, Isa Miranda, Marta Abba, Luigi Pirandello’s muse as well as international icons like Jayne Mansfield.
Fercioni bridal wear
Another Fercioni client was the infamous Claretta Petacci, Mussolini’s lover. Interestingly, Petracci was wearing a Fercioni outfit, dress and coat the day she was captured, shot and displayed in Milan along with the Duce in 1943.
Valentina Cortese in Giovani Fercioni
Fercioni, in 1933 was amongst the first designer to allow magazines to photograph and print his creations, without the fear of being copied. Fercioni’s understanding of fashion was such that he recruited the most beautiful ‘supermodels” of the times, like Elsa Martinelli, to model his creations.
Isa Miranda in Fercioni
Fercioni’s atelier was in the centre of Milan, in today’s “Quadrilatero della Moda” and when in 1944 the Nazi army took over the rooms of his atelier, the tailor moved to work in his own apartment. Fercioni even held a fashion show on the roof of the building. Nothing can stop true passion and the desire to create.
Giovanni Fercioni with client suring a fashion show.
Giovanni Tranquillo Fercioni enjoyed many successes and continued to work until his death in 1961. His two sons, Ruggiero and Aldo took over the business until they folded in 1973.
Fercioni, with his unabashed passion and unstoppable creativity were a testimony of what makes Italians and Italian fashion so special. Fercioni’s talent and capacity for adaptation allowed him and his designs to bridge three different eras of Italian history: from monarchy, through the regime and then the republic.
Written by: Valentina Zannoni