Venice seems to play an important role in next season’s fashion editorials and campaigns. The perfect opportunity to turn my attention to the most famous Venetian fashion house and one of Italy’s finest, Roberta di Camerino. The It Bag is a term attributed to many designer bags today, but it dates back as far as seven decades ago. One of the first designers who created the concept of the easily recognisable status bag was Giuliana Camerino. In 1945 she founded the historical Italian brand (a play of words between the title of the movie Roberta, 1935, starring Fred Astaire and Irene Dunne and the designer’s last name after marriage) in Venice and ever since then her handbags have been in the front line of the fashion world.
Made of a special type of velvet (a distinctive fabric for bags) woven on antique looms in the dark (to preserve the preciousness of the fabric), in newly decoded beautiful, rich colours, with clasps and studs created by the craftsmen of brass ornaments for gondolas, Giuliana’s bags were revolutionary. Their uniqueness evokes history, characters and emotions, just as the city where the atelier of the brand is still based. Giuliana Camerino is one of the designers who changed fashion, transforming an accessory into a fashion garment that can last forever.
Combining the craftsmanship of the artisans of Venice with a Neo-baroque style, she was an innovator, her designs including a patterned bag with a trellis of R’s in 1948 (foreseeing Gucci’s G’s), woven leather bags in 1957 (before Bottega Veneta, the ones I so much admire without having known until now their true inventor) and a handbag with a unique articulated frame in 1964 which was later taken up by Prada. When discussing the past and present influence exercised by Roberta di Camerino, Julie Gilhart, former Fashion Director and Senior Vice President of Barneys New York, said that visiting the archive of the brand is a truly incredible experience: “every bag that I know was already made by her.”
The legendary Bagonghi bag, created in 1949, was worn by Grace Kelly (her favourite was in black and beige), Elizabeth Taylor and Coco Chanel, amongst many other celebrities and style icons. It hasn’t lost its form, function and elegance over the years, just as a true timeless item never does. The brand has now been imprinted a more modern feel, which I am not particularly fond of and I think they should stick to perfecting the classic designs and carrying further on the tradition and principals of what many say that were the most beautiful bags in the world.
Wishing you a wonderful and stylish week!