The three Fontana sisters: Zoe, Micol and Giovanna. History

The history of Sorelle Fontana began in the early 20th century in Traversetolo, a small village just outside Parma, where the three sisters Zoe, Mico, and Giovanna, inspired by family tradition, began working in dressmaking. Although different in many ways, the sisters shared a common ambition, a need to expand their horizons, and a dream to succeed.

One day the eldest sister Zoe made up her mind to leave her birthplace for a big city. Unsure whether to go north or south, she decided to leave the choice to fate by taking the first train that came through the station, and that train was going to Rome. So, as in every fairy tale, the adventures of the Fontana sisters began.

Rome offered them many possibilities.

but the beginning was not easy. Their big break came with their first important client, Gioia Marconi, daughter of the great scientist and the inventor of the radio Guglielmo Marconi. The Fontana sisters made a series of dresses for her that met with acclaim and this success led to a string of prestigious clients, most notably of whom was Linda Christian who had them design her wedding dress. Her wedding in Rome to Tyrone Power was the wedding of the century and the newsreels and magazines were full of images of the two celebrities. In this way Sorelle Fontana’s fame arrived in America bringing with it Italian high fashion to rival the established French haute couture.

The wedding dress subsequently became a signature piece for Sorelle Fontana. Most notably the sisters designed wedding dresses for Princess Maria Pia of the House of Savoy and for Margaret Truman, daughter of the President of the United States of America, the latter who also commissioned a special trousseau for the occasion.

Hollywood discovers Rome.

The arrival of famous actors, directors, and producers awoke Rome from its long slumber. Names such as Mirna Loy, Barbara Stanwich, Michelle Morgan became clients of Sorelle Fontana. The most famous of these actresses was Ava Gardner who maintained a long relationship with the fashion house. The sisters designed a series of dresses especially for her for films including “The Barefoot Contessa” and “The Sun Also Rises” as well as for other famous films of the 1950s.

Beyond cinematography, the Sorelle Fontana also became involved in Italian contemporary art through a series of initiatives and prizes. One of their most innovative ideas was to bring together fashion and art through printed fabric. The Foundation holds two such dresses, one with designs printed by Mocchetti based on the work of Eliano Fantuzzi and the other printed by Bedetti and Bedraglio inspired by a work of Nuvolo.

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