As I promised, I'm trying to make the most of my car wreck, and I'm enjoying the newly found library section devoted to the history of fashion.
From a book called "Vestiti: lo stile degli italiani in un secolo di fotografie" ("Dresses: Italian style, a century of pictures"), here's a few of my favourites.
Look at this girl from 1935, looking amazingly modern in her plain, smooth, low-necked blouse and black pearl necklace, with an elegant silver fox fur around her shoulders and a malicious smile on her face.
Only her super thin, penciled eyebrows, a hint of finger waves, and her cloche hat point out her belonging to the 30s: had the picture been not dated, I could have thought it was taken yesterday.
Looking at those two elegant women, you could bet they were posing for the photographer - just waiting, in their best side, for the picture to be taken.
But, actually, this picture was taken at some horse racing in 1935-1936, and those ladies are actually following their front-runner with a tiny pair of field-glasses.
But look at the bucket purse the lady on the right is holding - or the belt the other one has wrapped around her waist, in contrast with the white, double-breasted jacket: didn't they look like they were modelling for some fashion designer?
How can I not love the casual, yet stylish jacket and matching culottes this girl wears in winter 1937?
The sobriety of her dress, anyway, is sweetened by the nice hat on her head, with its ducky ribbon bow.
According to the caption, she is a model showing a new kind of fabric; at the time, in Italy, there were more than 800 fashion houses.
This amazingly beautiful girl in the picture, dated 1945, is not the starlet of a forgotten Hollywood movie, but Marella Caracciolo Agnelli, the wife of Gianni Agnelli - The Lawyer, as they used to call him - the most well-known, much speculated-about Italian industrialist, the principal shareholder of Fiat (Agnelli was also known worldwide for his impeccable, slightly eccentric fashion sense).
She is still now one of the most influent patron of the arts in Italy - but she is also the daughter of a Duke... as her husband was the son of a princess.
It Italy, we say "Donne al volante, pericolo costante", that we can translate as "Woman driving, peril thriving"; or "Donne e motori, gioie e dolori", that is to say, " Women and engines, joys and pains".
Women and machinery do not mix?
It does not look like so, if we take a glance at this 1948 picture, where two gals smiles at each other through a 1100 Sport Fiat.
I think that, apart from the pleased expression the woman at the wheel is showing, the elegant lines of the car, and the stylish clothes of the ladies... match perfectly!
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