Saturday, August 1, 2015

R.I.P. Elio Fiorucci

Elio Fiorucci, the Milanese founder of the Fiorucci clothing and shopping empire died last week at the age of 80.

Fiorucci worked in his father's shoe shop until he opend his own store in 1967. In 1970 he created not only a fashion but a lifestyle empire with his Fiorucci brand, opening several stores around Milan and bringing global fashion to Italy. In 1975, he branched out to London, and then in 1976, Fiorucci opened a store on East 59th in New York City just in time for the disco (and roller disco!) era; the store even became known as the daytime Studio 54 (Elio Fiorucci was a habitué of Studio 54, rubbing shoulders with Bianca, Halston, and Liza)! This was the Fiorucci heyday, featuring platform sneakers, heart-shaped glasses, a collection made from DuPont's new Tyvek fabric, Day Glo tee shirts, gold lamé pants, collaborations with Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf and fashion luminaries Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood, and ultimately the memorable Fiorucci denim jeans. In fact, Fiorucci, along with Sasson, invented the high-end jean market. In the late 70s and 80s, Fiorucci combined elements of punk and New Wave as evidenced by their often risqué advertisment graphics. And if that is not enough, Elio and his brand were name-checked in the classic Sister Sledge song, "He's The Greatest Dancer:" "He wears the finest clothes, the best designers, heaven knows/ Ooo, from his head down to his toes/ Halston, Gucci, Fiorucci, he looks like a still/ That man is dressed to kill."

Above, a shot of Elio Fiorucci with Andy Warhol at a party for Interview Magazine. Below is a shot of the Fiorucci outpost in Beverly Hills which opened in 1979; it was also the setting for a very memorable and campy sequence in the 1980 film "Xanadu" with Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck, and Gene Kelly.

And here is my very own Fiorucci tin canister which I bought in 1978 in the Fiorucci section of Burdine's department store at Dadeland Mall in Miami, Florida when I was fourteen years old. This particular graphic is my very favorite Fiorucci design, and the tin remains a treasured possession, reminding me of the wonderful, heady disco days of that period...

Since the mid-90s, the label has been owned by Japanese jeans group Edwin Co., Ltd.

Rest in peace Elio. Thanks for making the world a little brighter and a little more fun.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

I love, love, love Fiorucci. I used to go to the one in NYC. Great, fun, disco design. Another store I liked was Heaven in L.A.