VENTURI, Gian Marco





Italian fashion designer

Born: Florence, Italy, circa 1955. Education: Studied at the Istituto Tessile Butti in Prato; degree in economics and commerce from Florence University. Career: Worked for Italian firms Domitilla, Lebole, Erreuno; established own label ready-to-wear, 1979, Milan; launched leather goods and accessory line, 1981; introduced men's jeans and sportswear, 1982; introduced ladies' jeans and sportswear, 1985; introduced activewear and lingerie lines, 1988. Awards: The Oner Best Designer award, Milan, 1983; Catherine de Medici Perfume award, Milan, 1986. Address: Via della Spiga 31, 20121 Milan, Italy.

P UBLICATIONS

On VENTURI:

Articles

"Gian Marco Venturi: Gessati et Jabot," Donna (Milan), 7 August 1987.

Muritti, Elisabetta, "Venturing on His Own," in Donna, March 1989.

"Italy's Coolest Shades: Maurizio Marcolin," in WWD Italy Supplement, January 1997.

"Manufacturers and Distributors," in Cosmetics International, 10 January 1997.

"Italy: Room for Improvement," in European Cosmetic Markets, May 1999.

"Gian Marco Venturi," available online at www.insurance-y2k.com , 14 October 2001.

"Gian Marco Venturi," online at Fashion Video, www.albertodellorto.com , 14 October 2001.

"Gian Marco Venturi," online at Moda Online, www.modaonline.it , 14 October 2001.

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Gian Marco Venturi worked for many companies as a designer and stylist before his own ready-to-wear label was launched in 1979. Born in Florence, Italy, he attended the Istituto Tessile Butti in Prato, then took a degree in business and economics at the University of Florence. He did not enter the fashion business until 1974, when he was 19, instead, he spent time traveling the world, gaining a rich variety of cultural and aesthetic experience that has provided useful inspiration for his subsequent design career.

Venturi first began designing for a firm called Domitilla. The company produced jersey clothes very much in the style of Emilio Pucci. It was Venturi's task to update the range and give it the right look for the mid-1970s. The first collection was shown in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. He then went on to work on leather garments (leather has always been a strong feature in his work) for Sander's, while at the same time he also designed knitwear for Beba. Graziella Ronchi hired Venturi in 1979 to design for her Erreuno collections. Working with the company for six seasons, it was Venturi who helped develop and establish the soft, neutral look combined with architectural correctness for which the company became known.

Venturi's women's ready-to-wear has always been stylish and expensive—sexy, sometimes suggestive, sometimes blatant or tarty. His sensuous side is perhaps best exemplified in his autumn-winter 1989-90 collection. A masculine, black snakeskin jacket with astrakhan collar and cuffs was belted over black trousers and sweater, highlighted with a white shirt collar. Black snakeskin gloves, dark glasses, and a model with a short black bob gave the impression of Louise Brooks on a black and white aviation excursion. Dark glasses were the distinctive accessory running through a collection that also included fit and flare double-breasted coats with astrakhan cuffs, then, in a softer vein, reversible cashmere with huge shawl collars and patch pockets in sand and warm gray.

Another distinctive Venturi ready-to-wear collection was spring-summer 1993. It featured hipster chain mail belts slung over skirts and tabards in a red, white, and blue color palette. There were blue leather safari jackets, boldly printed Capri trousers, skinny ribbed knits with chain mail embroidery, topped off with gold leather jerkins, belts, and lots of gold jewelry. It was a fun, dynamic, swingy look suggesting a star or opera diva lost in Miami and featured favorite fabrics such as white lace and organza.

Venturi's menswear is usually classic and traditional but is sometimes highlighted by a touch of ornamentation, such as crests and stars lifted from the naval styles or a gold ribbon-embroidered waistcoat. The clothes are disciplined and produced in seasonal colors. Favorite fabrics include linens, flannels, and gabardines. Sober jackets, waistcoats, close-fitting trousers, and blouses are the main separates, coordinated to create these looks.

Venturi has also produced lines of leather garments, jeans, casual clothing, sportswear, and perfume, all marked by the label Gian Marco Venturi Made in Italy in black on a white ground. He has been awarded several prizes during his career, including the Oner for best designer of 1983 and the Catherine de Medici prize for the greatest sales of men's aftershave in 1986. The company moved from Florence in 1983 and began occupying studios on the prestigious Via della Spiga in Milan.

For spring/summer 1997, Venturi focused on a folk-based palette of lavender blue, violet, royal blue, and Irish green in solids, stripes, and mixed tones pearlized to give his suits an air of informality. His chose blocky, undarted shaping in stretch fabric and revived the cadet look in traditional blazers with pocket insignia. His choices of viscose acetate, cotton acetate, and wool viscose crêpe with nickel buttons, zippers, and buckles supported tailored lines. Detailing with lace and grosgrain, pinstripes, checks, and chevrons revived standard black on white for a contemporary feel.

Venturi took charge of the indomitable blazer, touching up sporty styling with a military touches. For Nehru jackets, he stressed reed-matting and silk bourette. To soften jackets, he stressed a cardigan look in drapey jersey. Practical, wearable outfits in neutral tones of beige, chalk, and white suited the season. The ensemble of jackets, vests, and trousers in broiderie anglaise-style cambric added luxe to functional wardrobe standards.

—KevinAlmond;

updated by Mary EllenSnodgrass

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