The heritage of a disruptive mind that rewrote the paradigm of Italian fashion has surged from the past. Blow away the dust from your fashion history book and get ready to dive into Walter Albini’s character through these five key points.

By Giulia Piceni. Cover image: portrait of Walter Albini, Milan, 1971. Credit: Alfa Castaldi.

Walter Albini has been a mysterious and anonymous name for too long. Always keeping a gardenia’s bud in his jacket’s buttonhole, he strolled around with the attitude of a modern dandy while leaving a tuberose-perfume trail behind. From a distance, Albini would look like a mysterious character from a Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. He was amused by the mystery he had created upon his persona as much as he enjoyed drawing on his precious sketchbook, the page being the only place to let off the steam of his tumultuous temperament.
Born in Busto Arsizio and originally named Gualtiero Angelo, Walter Albini is a designer every fashion student has stumbled upon while delving into the Italian fashion system of the 1970s and the birth of the Made in Italy style. A name that fills the pages of many books, the Walter Albini label has recently surged from its glorious past thanks to the recent acquisition by Bidayat, Qatari society of Alsara Investment Group. After this fruitful operation, we have no more excuses: with his work, Albini has changed the history of contemporary fashion. Let’s try to summarise how he did it in five decisive steps.


In an era that saw the surge of sartorial artistry and, therefore, alta moda (Haute Couture, the made-to-measure) as the cornerstones of the fashion system, Walter Albini’s creativity looked to affordability. His collections weren’t only appealing for their style but even for the price, targeting the higher middle class. His 1972 show at Circolo del Giardino in Milan made a statement in this sense. For that occasion, the designer created almost two hundred looks for five selected brands and made them walk the runway in the exclusive location: modern ready-to-wear was born. Albini’s style was looking at the contemporary world; his products spoke to the broader public while preserving a sense of elitism; furthermore, he was among the first to showcase collections in spectacular venues such as Monte Carlo and Venice at Café Florian, to name a couple.


An insatiable creative, Walter Albini made cross-disciplinarity the trademark of his persona. With his creativity fueled by drawing, he applied his skills to multiple creative areas. For example, he conceived the idea of his Milan showroom: a room entirely covered in mirrors that can be admired in a few scenes of the Amazon Prime series Made in Italy (2019).

Designs by Walter Albini for Misterfox, Milan, 1971. Credit: Alfa Castaldi.

His fascination for the art world was fearlessly manifested on different occasions as well; to accompany his brand’s AW 1977 collection, his exhibition Mostra Falli at Galleria Eros displayed a series of ceramic phallic sculptures that had the form of famous characters. For the following collection, SS 1977, titled Robes trouvées, he showcased garment collages at Galleria Anselmino in Milan. He was also a great collaborator for other contemporary designers, including Krizia and Etro, designing textile patterns for both.


Before the Second World War, the epicentre of fashion was only in Paris. The industry’s diamond tip became Florence along with Rome thanks to the buyer-strategies developed by Gian Battista Giorgini and where Walter Albini gave life to Collezioni Donna, the ancestor of Milano Fashion Week, transforming Milan into the centre of fashion.

Design by Walter Albini, Milan, 1970. Credit: Alfa Castaldi

His forward-looking vision he paved the way for the 1980s Made in Italy. The Italian fashion golden era of which Armani and Versace were the main characters, among others. Speaking of these two brands, it is essential to note that Walter Albini’s work had a great impact on them, anticipating their staple-pieces in his shows. For example, the deconstructed jacket for which Re Giorgio is eternally praised appeared for the first time during his 1973 FW show, while the jersey that made Gianni Versace the king of sexiness was the highlight of the draped silhouettes from SS 1980.


Albini’s main inspirations were indeed the 1920s and the 30s, to which he also paid tribute in his way of drawing. The sharp lines, defined silhouettes and sophisticated attire that define both eras were also found in the outcome of his garments, subtly alluding to the strong femininity the 1970s woman was looking at to. The beginning of the 20th century was also characterised by an exploration of the masculine wardrobe by the opposite sex, an aspect shown in the lesbo-chic trend of the 1920s perfectly represented by Tamara de Lempicka’s paintings.

Original sketch by Walter Albini, used as a press release for the “Unified collection,” FW 1971/72, presented in Milan at Circolo del Giardino on 27th April 1971. Credit: Bidayat.

Similarly, Walter Albini gave life to the so-called UNIMAX, a way of conceiving garments with cuts and colours that made them wearable by everyone. A precursor to genderless fashion, Walter Albini’s collections gave life to a fruitful exchange of references from one wardrobe to another.


Rumour has it that Gucci’s former creative director, Alessandro Michele, might be Walter Albini’s eligible successor. As he declared in the past, the Busto Arsizio-born designer has always been a great source of inspiration during his seven-year-long work at the Florentine fashion house. This was evidenced by the 1970s attires and prints that have revived Gucci and more disruptive elements like the balaclava, referencing Albini’s AW 1976 show Guerriglia Urbana.

Designs by Walter Albini for Montedoro, Milan, 1971. Credit: Alfa Castaldi.

Everything we can do is wait and see what happens next. In the meantime, this is the perfect time to discover a designer to whom history has been cruel, cancelling it from the broader fashion conversation and relegating it to books. Educating ourselves is the best way to pay tribute to this forgotten genius.

Giulia Piceni is an ndergraduate Arts Curating student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.

Welcome to a sensory revolution! A menu with curry, lemongrass, figs and sesame cream enters our daily beauty routine and our scented cleansing rituals may change forever.

By Silvia Manzoni. Cover image: Agua de Tomate, a flavourful water is obtained from home-grown, sun-drenched tomatoes, and then infused with aromatic leaves of basil, is the base for the Tomato Experience fragrance. Courtesy La Boscana.

When a top-end chef’s recipes inspire perfumers, shower gels and shampoos can add a new sensory experience to our daily beauty rituals, making a morning shower a chic, gourmet moment. 
After the pandemic, exploring new sensory experiences is at the heart of beauty research. We entered the age of synesthesia and multi-sensoriality, and the results can be truly astonishing, a surprising dialogue between chic and pop.
The chef’s menu? Today, it is not only available at fine-dining tables, but also in perfumes, shower gels and shampoos for a unique sensory experience inviting users to discover new aromas.
As we know, taste and smell are two very close senses, and in recent years, many experiments have attempted to reveal new aspects of this relationship. But here we are exploring new ground: getting the recipes of an upscale restaurant into everyday self-care products.


The team of perfumers from Catalan company Eurofragance worked with the Spanish Chef Joël Castanyé, founder of the Michelin-starred restaurant La Boscana in Lerida, to find original olfactory outlets for a range of shower gels, hand creams and shampoos aimed for the general public.
These products fragrances feature ingredients from the recipes of the restaurant’s top-end menu, an incredible journey through taste and smell with four first courses, four-second courses and three desserts, served in small portions like tapas.


“This is a completely new project”, explains Stéphanie Marze, Head of Global Corporate Communication. “The fragrances inspired by Joël’s creative cuisine stimulate sensory pleasures and add refinement to the products”. But the chef has also found new inspirations by exchanging ideas with perfumer makers, who opened up unprecedented taste and olfactory paths to him. “It is a kind of magic to see how two seemingly distant worlds manage to complement each other and share the same values,” adds Joël Castanyé.

Chef Joel Castanyé. Courtesy Eurofragance.


Perfumer Soïzic Beaucourt, who created the fragrance of the revitalising shower gel, described her amazing experience. “Chef Joël proposed surprising combinations such as orange and curry for a sweet-and-sour dish seasoned with coconut milk, ginger and lemongrass, which I would have never considered combining in a scent”. Figs cooked in the traditional Korean Ocoo pressure cooker and paired with sesame inspired her ‘colleague’
Angéline Leporini to develop a shampoo’s evocative smell. “The dish revealed tobacco aromas, grilled notes, sweetened by the sesame cream, which immediately inspired me”.

Courtesy Eurofragance.

A daring mix of aromas invites evasion and shows how taste can pave the way for a new olfactory experience. And, of course, vice versa. Welcome to a unique starred gourmet shower experience!

Silvia Manzoni is a Journalist and Beauty Expert.