In 1953, the model of the moment, Suzy Parker, posed for Vogue in a boldly patterned shirt and slim lipstick-red pants. Captured in that Kodachrome instant was the look of the moment: “Pants and a shirt cut by a man who’s made pants-and-shirt-cutting a masterwork—Emilio Pucci of Capri.”
Yes, these were the original capris, which, in the figure-hugging ’50s, showed off the world’s most celebrated derrieres and gams (Sophia Loren’s and Marilyn Monroe’s come to mind). Emilio Pucci had a career in the Italian air force before he became a designer and was, in fact, still flying when he first tasted fashion success with a skiwear line. Emboldened, he turned in his wings and set up shop, called La Canzone del Mare, in an exclusive beach area of Capri. In 1951, he set about outfitting the smart set in breezy separates, whimsical straw hats, and thong sandals. Before long, his colorful resortwear was dotting shores across the Mediterranean.