Monday, March 09, 2009

Gigliola Curiel

I enjoy reading old fashion magazines. I learn so much by doing so. Yesterday, I was leafing through a 1968 Vogue, and came across this ad for Bergdorf Goodman. Our own Gigliola Curiel of Milan veils a willowy silk print dress with a shoulder-closed coat of twin-printed silk organza. Who??? Gigliola Curiel? Who??????? Seeing this ad sent me on a quest to learn more about this designer.

gigliola curiel dress, bergdorf, 1968In 1948, the Centro Italiano della Moda, or Italian Fashion Center, was formed in Milan. Several local dressmakers, including Gigliola Curiel, whose businesses had survived the restrictions of WWII, joined forces to form a national fashion fair that would facilitate the Italian fashion industry. In the early 1950s, the Centro Italiano worked to promote Italian fashion in the US with elaborate fashion shows staged in Milan for department store buyers who had just finished viewing the Paris couture shows.

In 1955, Bergdorf Goodman signed an exclusive contract with Gigliola Curiel to produce ready-to-wear fashion for the store. She did so until her death in 1969. The dress shown above would have been from one of her last collections for Bergdorf's.

I went searching for dresses by Curiel online, and there is not much available. Here are a couple that I found.

1957 Evening Gown in the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum.

My friend Jamie, of Jamiexmas, recently sold this 1950's cocktail dress by Curiel. He has graciously agreed to let me share these photos with you.

Another friend, Mary Jane of Poppy's Vintage Clothing has this gorgeous 60s Gigliola Curiel orange suit for sale in her shop at Ruby Lane.  Isn't that color stunning?

So there you have it - my serendipitous journey on a lazy Sunday afternoon from magazine ad to learning about a designer from the past that I had never heard of. I am now on the search for a Curiel dress for my own collection. I love my job.

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