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Lectures from the Allen Room & Wertheim Study: Ivy Style Unbuttoned : Italian Menswear on Rodeo Drive, 1976-1986


March 28, 2013

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Unlike the subtle sophistication of NYC and London, Rodeo Drive was blatantly extravagant.  Turning its back to the traditional collegiate world of Harvard, Yale and Princeton, Beverly Hills successfully manipulated Ivy style with Italian aesthetics to suit the celebrated lifestyle of Rodeo Drive.  Hollywood celebrities wanted Ivy styling with a twist provided by Italian designers who prized disinvoltura: translated as self-confidence, easy elegance and nonchalant attitude.  Stars with Ivy League roots included Jack Lemmon, Wayne Rogers, James Whitmore, and Tommy Lee Jones.  Celebrities needed to be perceived as dazzling while not forfeiting their treasured and secure ivy style.  The synergy of design influences traversed the Atlantic Ocean where the trend in Italy was promoted as the "Hard Look" inspired by 1950s collegiate dress.

This illustrated presentation will examine the Italian interpretation of American Ivy League as it appeared in fashionable retail shops of Beverly Hills, making Rodeo Drive a significant hub for traditional menswear with an Italian twist.

Diane Maglio, a writer in residence in the Library's Wertheim Study, is Professor of Fashion Marketing and Management at Berkeley College, Larry L. Luing School of Business, NYC and teaches History of American Menswear in the graduate studies program at FIT.  She has been published in academic journals of the Costume Society of America, the Textile Society of America, and was special editorial consultant and contributor to "A Century of Men's Fashion," published by DNR.  She has presented her research at international conferences.  Professor Maglio was honored as Faculty of the Year for the School of Business, 2010.  She received the Evelyn Welch Livingstone award for her research on Palm Beach men's resort wear and a grant from FIT to continue her study in France.  Prior to her academic career she worked in the higher-end menswear business.

Click here for other lectures from the Wertheim Study