MAD, a world of fashion

Yesterday I had the pleasure to see a documentary on Maddalena Sisto, an architect, journalist, eclectic artist, and best known as fashion illustrator MAD, starting at the end of the sixties.

The documentary is about Milano and Italian fashion seen through the eyes of MAD.
People like VOGUE editor Franca Sozzani and fashion designers as Elio Fiorucci and Ottavio and Rosita Missoni are looking with respect and affection back to MAD and her work literally comes to life thanks to her drawings were animated specially for the documentary.

Italian fashion. Practically synonymous with creativity and style. Armani, Ferrè, Fiorucci, Missoni, Gucci, Versace, Prada and the rest all come from the same place and flourished in a few decades. Before that Milano was just a town of textile industries and needle-workers.

All starts at the end of the sixties. Italian tailors take advantage of the 1968 youth protest movements, and give form and shape to women's dreams. Fashion goes from Haute Couture to Prêt-à-Porter, hand in hand with the women's fight for equal rights. The revolution in fashion rapidly evolves following social trends which see women getting into power roles (and dresses) and young and talented tailors becoming famous.

Then branding explodes and Milano becomes the world’s fashion centre.
Maddalena Sisto, MAD for the readers of Vogue, Elle Germany, The New Yorker and the Corriere della Sera, witnessed it all and put it into extraordinary drawings and sketches. She recorded every trend suggested by the Milan stylists and chronicled how fashion developed and influenced the life of Italian women. To such an extent that her 'signorine' represent the desires, fears and imagination of women today.

She left us over 12.000 drawings together with her personal diaries and the video's of her work in the fashion field. Everything neatly and persistently collected by her husband.

A WORLD OF FASHION tells the story of Italian fashion through MAD's drawings, specifically animated for the film, and through the fashion designers that loved her work and the way she was able to predict where their own work was heading to.

Welcome to the liberated, sensual and glamorous world of MAD!
(with dutch subtitles and mainly Italian speaking)




Director: Anna Di Francisca and Zoltan Horvat
A Stefilm production in co-production with Nadasdy Film
In collaboration with Mosaique Film With the support of AVRO, SVS, YLE, TSR MEDIA Programme, Piemonte Doc Film Fund.



About Maddalena Sisto
Maddalena Sisto was born in Alessandria in 1951. After completing secondary school, she moved to Milan, where (with articles and drawings) she devoted herself to fashion, custom, design and trends within the Condè Nast Group (Vogue). She contributed to Panorama. She took a degree in Architecture at Milan Polytechnic. She designed a collection of sculpture-teapots in the shape of women’s heads. She published drawings and wrote articles for Glamour, Casa Vogue, Elle Germania, Marie Claire. She had a page of her own on Elle Decor and on Sette, a Corriere della Sera magazine. She contributed to German, American and Spanish magazines. She engineered advertising campaigns in Germany (Scholz & Friends in Hamburg) and Italy (JWT, TBWA). Notice how Mad creates out of women’s figures (her favourite subject) the genial “signorine” [young ladies]; delicate and eccentric second selves, extravagant icons that have left their mark on the history of fashion and communication. Fitted in improbable landscapes or related to current works of design, they “wear” fashion, with which they constantly have a difficult relation. They move lightly and naturally, like bosom friends; they make people think and (what is just as important) they make people laugh. Mad, who was a journalist, an architect, a designer, an illustrator and a refined artist, passed away in Milan in July 2000.

See more of her fashion illustrations here.
MAD, a world of fashion MAD, a world of fashion Reviewed by Patricia Munster on 4:00:00 AM Rating: 5

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