Founded in 1977, Anna Molinari’s Blumarine was, from the start, unapologetically feminine. The designer loves the rose, isn’t shy to employ a leopard print, and has a deep, utterly romantic handle on colorful sequins and furs. She was also one of the first women to helm a brand in Italy—something to be proud of, even as women are still in the minority when it comes to presiding over fashion houses. Over the years, Molinari has worked with some of the most impactful stylists, models, and photographers of our era— Helmut Newton, Albert Watson, Grace Coddington, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell to name a few. All the while, the designer’s ultra-feminine, and quite often sensual aesthetic reigned supreme. This year, Molanari celebrates the 40th anniversary of her enduring brand, and has launched a book, Blumarine: Anna Molinari (Rizzoli), to commemorate the moment. Here, the designer talks to Fashion Unfiltered about working with Helmut Newton, Italian fashion’s evolution, and why thorns and beauty go hand in hand.
Ashley W. Simpson: Can you tell us a little bit about your background? When did you first develop an interest in fashion, and what was your style like growing up?
Anna Molinari: I was born and always lived in Carpi, one of the most important Italian textile districts. The town has many workshops, specialized in knitwear. My parents were the owners of a factory called Molly, which was created during the economic boom of the post-war period. It produced clothes for important national and international brands. My mother, Odette, was following the stylistic part with great talent while my father managed the administrative part. Very soon, it was natural for me and my twin sister, Licia, to be fully involved in all activities, learning to get to know both creative and technical aspects of the production. In those years, I developed my aesthetic sensibility and my style that has always reflected my way of being and personality.