Simonetta Colonna di Cesarò is one of the most representative creators of Italian high fashion after the Second World War. Renamed by the Americans 'The Glamorous Countess', Simonetta is an example of both strong personality and savvy entrepreneur, who knows how to perfectly combine creativity and business. Her creations were beautiful, exclusive and handmade - from evening dresses to cocktail dresses, to jumpsuits, from lines that mark the silhouette to those that wrap the figure up in mysterious drapes.
Simonetta Colonna di Cesarò right before taking a LAI plane, courtesy Archivio Luce, Cinecittà Luce S.p.a., all rights reserved
Born in Rome in April 1922, in the family palace of via Gregoriana, she is the daughter of the duke Giovanni, an intellectual democrat, and the duchess Barbara, of the Conti Antonelli family, of Russian origins. Simonetta was educated according to the rules of an elegant and cosmopolitan living. However, adventure characterize her life since her youth:she was first sent to confinement by order of the regime and later she arrested because she was acused of being part of the resistance. Then, shortly before the Liberation of Rome in June 1944, she prepared for her wedding with Gaio Visconti and started her career as a fashion designer. In 1946 she opened an atelier in the family palace and organized a presentation of the first collection: fourteen models, all charaterized by a bold and chic taste inspired by post-war bricolage. This event leads her to be, at twenty-four, the youngest and most promising Italian couturière. In 1949, his fashion-creation met with the appreciation of buyers from US department stores, Bergdorf Goodman and Marshall Field, who arrived in Italy in search of a sartorial style that was alternative to that of French fashion. In 1951 she presented her olletion in Florence and then she went to New York, to present to the overseas public the collection designed exclusively for Bergdorf & Goodman.
Since 1957 the Simonetta developed a line of sportswear, a sort of proto ready-to-wear in Italy: it is the triumph of knitwear creations, practical and chic at the same time, both for ski and beachwear. In 1953 she married tailor Alberto Fabiani in second wedding. Both followed separate careers until 1962, when they decided to work together and present their brand on the Parisian scene. The creative partnership lasted until 1964, the year in which Fabiani returns to his Roman atelier and Simonetta launches the Haute Boutique formula in Paris. In 1969 he met the guru Swami Chidananda and starts rethinking her life and connect withg her spirituality. In 1971 she left Paris and the world of high fashion to move to India, where she settled in an ashram, devoting herself to the practice of meditation and the study of oriental philosophies.