From the first moment I laid eyes on it, it was obvious that this dress was special. The label read “Mingolini Guggenheim Piazza del Spagna, 9-91- Roma”. Honestly, I had never heard of Mingolini & Guggenheim before I found this dress.
What little information I found while researching indicates that Carlo Guggenheim and his partner, Mingolini were designing clothing at least since the 1930s and into the 1990s. Micol Fontana mentions a Mingolini Guggenheim jacket from the 30s in her archives that was once owned by Edda Ciano – Mussolini’s daughter – in an interview with Eugenia Paulicelli, the author of “Fashion Under Facism”. She calls Mingolini Guggenheim “one of the best known fashion houses in Rome”.
In a Reuters article from January of 1960, Italian fashion designers DeLuca and Mingolini-Guggenheim are said to be designing with an eye toward the American market by creating fashions with a “long, slim line for a long, slim woman”. Smooth fabrics are meant to emphasize “slimness, softness, and smoothness.”
An Associated Press article from January 1962 describes the coming spring fashions from Italian designers Mingolini-Guggenheim as being focused on capes and influenced by the Egyptian look due to the new Elizabeth Taylor movie, “Cleopatra”. The new designs by Mingolini-Guggenheim were notably the cocoon-like capes, evening gowns with godet skirts, and suits with short or bolero jackets and narrow skirts. They were described as having “lots of appeal for individual private clients but much too lush to be a pacesetter for mass produced fashions”.
Undeniably, one of the most outstanding tidbits of information I was able to find was in the Caribou Observer of March 10, 1955 (p.14). Included on the social page was a photo of a drop-dead gorgeous evening gown (would have loved to have seen it in color!) on a .. shall we say “special” mannequin. The caption calls it “weird” and “surreal” – the body of a woman with the head of an animal. [original link to this no longer works]
Another ad I found in another Canadian newspaper, The Winnepeg Free Press of 29 July 1955, shows a different dress by Mingolini & Guggenheim that is sadly not very visible.Mingolini & Guggenheim are now on my personal radar. As I locate more information about these designers and their fashions, I’ll be posting more here. And if you have any information to add, let me know!
Originally posted 3/1/2010