Anna Dello Russo, Giovanna Battaglia , and Chiara Ferragni are among some of the most photographed beacons of Italian style today, but the country has a history of producing chic tastemakers. Perhaps it has something to do with Italy’s decadent history of supporting art and luxury fashion. After all, Gucci, Ferragamo, and Fendi—some of the top Italian fashion houses in the world—were all founded before the 1930s and have managed to still remain as top influencers in the design world.
On the streets of Milan and Rome, the women who walk by in furs, gorgeous leathers and detailed accessories often look like they came straight out of a fashion magazine. And in New York, a new breed of young Italian women who work in design, consulting, and art is taking over the street-style scene with their eccentric looks, ranging from extravagant sunnies to vintage picks from around the world.
Italy’s amazing film culture has also shaped the country’s top-tier style icons, with stars like Sophia Loren, Monica Bellucci, and Monica Vitti becoming major influencers for their looks globally, on-screen and off. Who could forget Loren’s dramatic cat eye? It’s a look we still live by today.
So, in honor of Milan Fashion Week, which begins today, click through to see a guide of Italian fashion icons past and present.