Blumarine: A History of the Brand
Blumarine Spring 1995 Runway

Blumarine: A History of the Brand

Words by Georgia Gordon

Blumarine have seen a recent revival due to the appointment of new creative director Nicola Brognano, who has revamped the iconic archive pieces that put the brand on the map.  Anna Molinari and Gianpaolo Tarabini are the husband-and-wife duo that founded Blumarine in Capri in 1977 and the sister brands that followed. The name Blumarine was derived from the founders’ love of the colour blue and the ocean surrounding Capri. The brand is known for a distinct feminine and romantic aesthetic; think rosettes, sequins, fur trim and vintage inspired fabrics.  

Carre Otis for Anna Molinari/Blumarine, 1995

Dubbed the Queen of Roses, designer Anna Molinari heavily incorporated rose motifs in Blumarine designs throughout the years. The rose was well known as Blumarine’s main symbol and is seen adorning many of the brand’s fabrics. Blumarine’s use of roses is said to represent women and their femininity, the tough thorns of which represent contrast.  

In 1980, Molinari received Best Designer of the Year award at MODIT for her first Blumarine collection which featured pastel angora knits, decorated with her famous roses in the form of three-dimensional appliques. More recently, Nicola Brognano has put his own spin on this same collection, adding large 3-D knitted roses to the strap of a slinky slip dress, as well as digitally printing them onto flared pants, tops, blazers and dresses. Brognano also tells Vogue that the butterfly will likely become Blumarine's latest symbol. According to Brognano, "The butterfly is a sort of new Blumarine logo. Versace has the Medusa; we have the butterfly". As well as their use of the rose and the butterfly, Blumarine’s other iconic creations include their collection of fur-trimmed sweaters and cardigans (referred to as Bluvi) and their perfected leopard print pattern, known as Animalier. The revamped Animalier fabric remains consistent in current collections, as do their famous fur trimmed cardigans; once made with mink, now made with an eco-conscious faux fur. 

Nadja Auermann for Blumarine by Helmut Newton, Fall 1993

At the beginning of the brands career, Helmut Newton photographed and styled Blumarine campaigns which became influential in creating their signature look. Designer Anna Molinari was notorious for exaggerating the female figure with strong, unique and feminine shapes, such as waist-cinching tutus, bustiers and lace dresses. Combining this feminine aesthetic with Newton’s controversial and overtly sexual tone saw the duo gain the attention they deserved. When they worked together, the outcome was a strong and slightly provocative image that encapsulated the brand’s essence perfectly. One of their most iconic campaigns featured German supermodel Nadja Auermann dressed in Blumarine ensembles, styled with racy accessories like a garter and hold-ups, staggering high heels and sleek red lips.

After Newton, other iconic artistic collaborations included Ellen Von Unwerth, Tim Walker, Vinoodh Matadin and Paolo Roversi, who shot iconic images of model/actress Milla Jovovich for Anna Molini's namesake brand in 1997. Molinari has also expressed that Vogue Italia's Manuela Pavesi played a huge role in forming Blumarine’s iconic aesthetic, styling and photographing Nadja Auermann in a shoot for Blumarine, 2 years prior to Newton.

Milla Jovovich for Anna Molinari, 1995

When asked who her favourite collaboration was from the previous 40 years, Molinari admits there have been many. She shares that designers Franco Moschino (founder of Moschino) and Walter Albini played a huge role in teaching her “secrets of tailoring and know-how”, which helped her expand on her collections with more than just knitted sweaters. 

Moschino and Albini may have helped her experiment to create other more structured pieces but Molinari's fur trimmed sweaters remain as relevant as ever with fashions recent 90's revival. Brognano even re-imagined this iconic style and the result has brought Blumarine back into the spotlight, although we can't help but revisit the photographs and original designs that made Blumarine iconic all those years ago. 

September 27, 2021 — Georgia Gordon