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For daily, festive, ceremonial, and ritual events, African clothing, like clothes everywhere else, conveys age, gender, profession, ethnicity, power, and religious devotion.  Africans use Islamic and indigenous clothing in addition to trendy Western clothing.  Dressing include completely or partly covering the body with clothing and accessories such as head coverings and jewelry, as well as altering the body with tattoos or piercing.  For Africans, dressing properly entails correct behavior and exquisite style, which includes suitable clothing, cosmetics, and coiffure, as well as spectacular carriage, graceful movement, meticulous toilette, and spotless clothes.  Everyday African clothing expresses personal idiosyncrasy as well as socially important categories.  When Africans wear uniforms or clothes made from the same fabric, their clothing promotes group connection while minimizing individualism. 


WALTER ALBINI, (1941–1983) was born Gualtiero Angleo Albini in the northern Italian town of Busto Arsizio. 

At 1957, he dropped out of his classical studies, which his family had wanted him to continue, and enrolled in Turin's Istituto d'Arte, Disegno e Moda, where he was the sole male student. 

Albini was a talented student who majored in drawing and specialized in ink and tempera painting, which he excelled at. 

In 1960, he earned a bachelor's degree in fashion design. 

Albini's passion in fashion design has remained constant. 

Even as a child, he worked as an illustrator for newspapers and magazines, sending pictures of fashion shows in Rome and Paris, a city with which he had a deep and abiding affection. 

As indicated by the many allusions to French designers Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel in his work, Paris was a pivotal milestone in his creative and emotional growth. 

Albini met Chanel in Paris, where he stayed from 1961 to 1965, and devoted his 1975 haute couture show in Rome to the designer, whom he respected throughout his life. 

He was influenced by Chanel's emphasis on releasing the female body, mixing and matching various pieces, and accessorizing. 

He met Mariucci Mandelli, the founder of the Krizia line, while still in Paris, and the two became longtime friends. 

Albini returned to Italy and worked at Krizia for three years (1965–1968), designing sweaters. 

Karl Lagerfeld, the designer, was also working at Krizia at the time. 

"I was never dissatisfied with Walter," Mandelli once observed about Albini. 

He was a figure right out of (F. Scott) Fitzgerald, maybe the last, who never succumbed to vulgarity, pettiness, or mediocrity. 

He taught us a valuable lesson in style" (Bocca, p. 138). 

Albini created for Billy Ballo, Cadette, Trell, and Montedoro as a consultant for various firms. 

He created many collections for Basile and picked fabrics and patterns for Etro. 

He was already widely recognized to other designers by 1968, when Vogue Italia featured a six-page spread of his work for the Krizia collection. 

The next year, he debuted his own Mister Fox brand, which he named after his journalist friend Anna Piaggi. 

The collection had sixteen exquisite suits, eight of which were dubbed "the widows" (all black) while the other eight were dubbed "the wives" (all flesh-colored). 

The outfits were created in partnership with Luciano Papini, an industrialist. 

Albini was the first to launch a series of revolutionary fashion improvements in Italy in response to market changes. 

These innovations included recognizing the need for the fashion industry to provide styles and images rather than just clothing in order to reach new market segments in a rapidly changing world, as well as freeing the designer from the anonymity of the world of production and treating him as a creator, as in the world of haute couture, and recognizing the need for the fashion industry to provide styles and images rather than just clothing in order to reach new market segments in a rapidly changing world. 

Albini collaborated closely with fabric producers to increase the designer's visibility in industrial manufacturing. 

He also assisted in the formation of specialist enterprises in several industries so that they might unite to generate a collection with a well-known brand name. 

Basile for coats, skirts, and jackets; Escargots for jersey; Callaghan for knitwear; Mister Fox for evening wear; Diamant's for shirts were among the brands represented. 

Following an arrangement with FTM (Ferrante, Tositti, Monti), a new label was created: "Walter Albini for," followed by the manufacturer's name. 

For the first time, a prêt-à-porter collection was shown at the Circolo del Giardino in Milan on April 28, 1971. 

The collection, which included dresses, shirts, jackets, trousers, evening gowns, hats, shoes, and jewelry, was created by a single designer in collaboration with manufacturers from many industries, each specializing in its own area of manufacturing. 

The collection was subsequently sold in its whole to stores, which sold them exactly as they were created. 

It was the beginning of the modern prêt-à-porter system. 

The article "Putting It Together" in the June 7, 1971 edition of Women's Wear Daily covered this watershed moment in fashion. 

Albini, along with Caumont, Trell, Ken Scott, Missoni, and Krizia, was the first designer to quit the Sala Bianca at Palazzo Pitti in Florence, which was still connected with the traditional fashion history, in favor of Milan in 1971. 

The year 1971 is regarded as the beginning of prêt-à-porter. 

Bianca was a site inextricably linked to Giovanni Battista Giorgini and the official launch of Italian fashion in January 1952, with the first catwalk presentations. 

Sala Bianca operated until 1982, when Milan, which was already at the forefront of the rising new design prêt-à-porter, took over. 

The famous Caffè Florian, which had been closed for the day, hosted the 1973 Venice catwalk display amid its tables. 

For Albini, it was a fantastic moment. 

"It had been a long time since these sophisticated ladies had caressed the wonderfully painted woodwork of the Caffè Florian in Piazza san Marco in so much tweed, velvet, silk, and lamé" (Vercelloni 1984, p. 90). 

The deco style, Poiret's interpretation of liberty, Bauhaus, futurism, constructivism, and the art of the 1910s to 1930s, when a new feminine representation arose, notably with Chanel's work, are all constants in Walter Albini's designs and inspiration. 

Half-belted jackets, flat collars, wide slacks, the iconic shirt jacket that would become a classic of Italian men's apparel, sandals, two-tone shoes, Bermuda shorts, sports jackets, knit hats worn low on the forehead, and the first waterproof boots are among Albini's design constants. 

He restored the use of print designs, both abstract and figurative, and developed the image of the lady in trousers, jacket, and shirt. 

The zodiac, the ballerina, the Scottish terrier, and the Madonna were among his favorite subjects. 

Albini is credited for creating the "whole style," which arose from his exclusive focus on accessories and details, which were nearly as significant as the garment itself. 

Albini was the one who came up with the concept of employing music instead of an announcer during fashion presentations. 

He also came up with the concept of grouping ad pages in fashion publications. 

But Albini was even more entwined with the past, with the historical roots that had inspired him, with the exquisite elegance that can only be accomplished via a zealous pursuit of perfection in the ingenious and satirical application of previous forms. 

When Albini's contract with FTM expired in 1973, he and Papini formed Albini Srl. MISTERFOX was the commercial line of apparel for the new company, which created and sold the WA label. 

Albini was also ahead of his time in this undertaking. 

His passion for fashion was matched by his interest in study and travel to Asia, including India and Tunisia, where he gained inspiration for his designs. 

He purchased residences in his favorite locales, including one on the Grand Canal in Venice, another in Milan's Piazza Borromeo, and a third in Tunisia's Sidi-fu-Said. 

Each of them represented the beauties of the surrounding surroundings in their own unique manner. 

Albini debuted his first autumn collection for men in 1975, another area where he foreshadowed future designers. 

Albini's inventions, however, were not well received by the fashion industry. 

When Albini was at the top of his game, the apparel and textile industry was still in its infancy, and he didn't have enough financial backing. 

His manufacturers couldn't keep their promises at the end of his career, and Paolo Rinaldi, his friend and publicity agent, was his lone backer. 

Albini died at the age of forty-two in Milan. 

Because of the depth and diversity of his works, their intimacy and intricacy, and the fact that they were ahead of their time, Walter Albini is difficult to describe. 

Albini, according to Isa Vercelloni, "is constantly someplace else, at least one step ahead of what is predicted, and a thousand leagues ahead of what we anticipate" in his "pure condition" (1984, p. 235). 

Albini, a pivotal character in Italian culture, continues to inspire awe. 

Aldo Ballo, Maria Vittoria Corradi Backhaus, Giampaolo Barbieri, and Alfa Castaldi were among the numerous photographers who worked with him and captured his memories in photographs.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

Find Jai on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

See also: 

Chanel, Gabrielle (Coco); Fashion Designer; Fash￾ion Shows; Italian Fashion; Ready-to-Wear.

References And Further Reading: 

Bianchino, Gloria, and Arturo Quintavalle. Moda: Dalla fiaba al design. Italia 1951–1989. Novara, Italy: Istituto geografico De Agostini, 1989.

Bocca, N. “La coerenza dello stile.” In Walter Albini: Lo stile nella moda. Edited by Paolo Rinaldi. Modena, Italy: Zanfi Editori, 1988.

Gastel, Minnie. 50 anni di moda italiana. Milan: Vallardi, 1995.

Morini, E., and N. Bocca. La moda italiana. Volume 2: Dall’antimoda allo stilismo. Milan: Electa, 1987.

Vercelloni, Isa Tutino. “Walter Albini 1968.” In Il genio antipatico: Creatività e tecnologia della moda italiana 1951/1983. Edited by Pia Soli. Milan: Mondadori, 1984.

—. “Albini Walter.” In Dizionario della moda. Edited by Guido Vergani. Milan: Baldini and Castoldi, 1999.

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