After the lockdown period, Bertolami Fine Art reopens to the public the halls of Palazzo Caetani Lovatelli for the Fashion & Luxury auction, the first of a dense sequence of sales that will run until mid-July.

The appointment with the spring auction of Bertolami Fine Art's Fashion & Luxury is scheduled for Friday, June 5th at 3.00 pm. "Obviously it is a slightly different auction from those that preceded it - explains Ilaria De Santis, head of the department - We had to renounce the mundane ritual of the inauguration cocktail; the exhibition is in progress, but we only admit visitors by appointment; for obvious hygienic reasons, we have also eliminated the usual jibber-jabbering habit of trying on clothes; international collectors are trying to arrive but perhaps we will have to be content to hear their voices on the phone, in short, so many small inconveniences that we reluctantly impose on our customers. And yet the new rules on social distancing are not discouraging the public, on the contrary I would say that the interest recorded by the auction is touching: people are trying to start over and we are starting again even so, from a purchase that is a tribute to the formidable fashion season of '900.


A season that Bertolami Fine Art's auction also recounts by bringing to the surface, alongside the most famous names, those of personalities of historical importance remembered today only by collectors and scholars.


Ancient tailors, the great couturiers of haute couture, designers and companies that have expressed their talent in the exciting rise of ready-to-wear: as always happens in Bertolami Fine Art's fashion auctions, the lots placed in the enchantment are the result of research aimed at restoring the full-bodied complexity of 20th century fashion as a cultural, economic and costume phenomenon. Among the many names in the catalogue we have chosen to point out five that well summarize the evolution of Italian fashion from the '30s to the '80s: a path that starts from the atelier of a queen of the old guard as Aurora Battilocchi- already famous in the '20s and '30s, when the ladies of the House of Savoy and the Roman aristocracy wore her creations - and, passing from post-war Italian haute couture stars such as Fernanda Gattinoni, Simonetta and Sorelle Fontana, to Walter Albini, brilliant protagonist of the explosive story of the ready-to-wear made in Italy caught in its nascent moment.

(The entire catalogue is published at


A poker of aces for the evening: four dresses that came out between 1955 and 1961 from the Battilocchi atelier in Via Sistina 67, one of the oldest tailors in the capital. Aurora Battilocchi, the founder, has been dressing the ladies of the House of Savoy, the aristocracy and the best Roman bourgeoisie since the 1920s. In those years Parisian fashion was considered an essential reference model of tailoring throughout the world. The Italian tailors, heirs to a tradition of craftsmanship of the highest level, copied their French colleagues with impeccable perfection, but gave little room to the invention of a personal style. Battilocchi tailoring is no exception to the rule, working exclusively on designs developed by the best ateliers in Paris. In the post-war years, the formidable years of the invention of Italian haute couture, the severe teacher of the Fontana Sisters and Maria Antonelli did not deviate from the line of devotion to French style, looking above all at the new look of Christian Dior. Not by chance, two of the four models placed at the enchantment by Bertolami Fine Art are copies of two famous mid-50s models of the Avenue Montaigne maison: "Fete au village" and "Delphine".

Battilocchi, 1961
White tulle evening dress with raffia embroidery, gold cord and rhinestones. Original box

Lot 44
Estimate € 350/500
Auction base € 350


Thirteen models of Gattinoni from the 50s to early 2000, practically the history of the atelier. Some are original creations by Fernanda Gattinoni, the founder, others are signed by her son Raniero, who died prematurely in 1993. The sequence ends with a long sheepskin coat from the 2004/2005 winter collection, signed by Guillermo Mariotto, the current creative director of the maison.

Some creations from the 50s, the years of Hollywood on the Tiber and those of the great love that broke out between Madame Fernanda and the cinema. The costumes worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film War and Peace (1956) are hers, and they even earned her an Oscar nomination. One of the iconic costumes in the history of cinematic costume is also attributable to her legendary talent: the unforgettable black bustier dress that Anita Ekberg wore in the highlight scene of the Dolce Vita, that of bathing in the Trevi Fountain. What makes you dream, however, is above all the sequence of customers who cross the threshold of the atelier in Via Marche 72, strategically adjacent to the U.S. Embassy: movie stars like Lucia Bosè, Kim Novak, Anna Magnani, Gina Lollobrigida, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, the beloved Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn and Liz Taylor, and protagonists of the international jet set and powerful women like Jacquie Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to Italy Claire Boothe Luce, Golda Meir and Evita Peron. Unforgettable, in 1961, the scandal aroused by Princess Margaret in Gattinoni at Buckingam Palace in open violation of the rule prohibiting members of the court from wearing clothes by foreign designers.

Fernanda Gattinoni, 1950'
Blue lace dress and bolero suit

Lot 27
Estimate € 200/400
Auction base € 180

Fernanda Gattinoni, mid 50's
Cotton piqué dress and bolero suit.

Lot 30
Estimate € 200/400
Auction Base € 200


The birth of Italian high fashion owes much to the contribution of members of the aristocracy. The story is well known: at the end of the Second World War, even members of the noble Italian families found themselves in the condition, common to all Italians, of having to roll up their sleeves. For the ladies who, before the war, had refined their taste by dressing in the best tailors of the time, fashion seemed an inevitable professional outlet. A path also followed by the beautiful Simonetta Colonna di Cesarò, who opened her first atelier in 1946, signing her creations with her married name, Simonetta Visconti. Afterwards she was simply Simonetta, one of the most requested Italian couturier abroad. In reality, the charming noblewoman cannot draw (a task that she entrusts to professionals paid with piecework) but she turns out to be a skilful businesswoman, able to conquer with incomparable charm the powerful buyers of the big American shopping centres and the journalists who, from overseas, arrive in Italy to tell the rich American bourgeoisie about the seduction of the clothes made in ateliers ruled by real aristocrats.

Simonetta, 1955
Cocktail dress in extraordinary ivory silk fabric embellished with floral applications. Front corset lacing

Lot 31
Estimate € 200/400
Auction Base € 200


1960s: all bewitched by the moon. Even the Fontana Sisters who, at the end of the decade, in the wake of Courreges, Cardin and Paco Rabanne, converted to the space age look. The approach of the three brilliant sisters of Traversetolo to the geometric and metallurgical style of the space age does not disappoint. Proof of this is the delightful little black sheath dress with aluminium inserts that is one of the highlights of the auction.

Sisters Fontana, late 60s
Space age dress in black crepe and aluminium decorations.
Lot 66
Estimate € 500/1,000
Auction Base € 390


Walter Albini(1941 - 1983) was one of the main promoters of Italian ready-to-wear. During the 60s he became the most requested designer by the main Italian ready-to-wear fashion companies and international brands such as Cole of California. The term designer was coined by journalist Anna Piaggi in order to define him, the most famous and contended designer, who comes to follow five industrial brands diversified by type of product, coordinating his intervention in a stylistically unitary and recognizable project. Albini's are some of the strongest ideas of the early '70s, starting from the formula unimaxfashion that offers uniformity of cut and color between male and female lines. In 1973 he broke off his collaboration with fashion houses to present in London a man-woman line that bears his name, in the same year he opened a showroom in Milan, in Via Pietro Cossa. Genius promoter of an idea of total look, he designed in the same stylistic style of his fashion collections fabrics and furnishing objects. The new italian star He died at only forty-two years of age, giving the new generations of fashion a legacy of ideas and style not yet completely deepened.


Scarlett Ariosto

Walter Albini, for Sportmax - S/S 1972 Collection
Le Marinarette Collection
Silk shirt with flag print on striped bottom
Lot 84
Estimate € 200/400
Auction Base € 170

Battilocchi, 1955
Ivory white cotton cocktail dress embroidered with floral motifs (copy of Christian Dior's "Fête au village" model)
Lot 32
Estimate € 200/400
Auction Base € 150

Battilocchi, 1956
Green faille cocktail dress (copy of Christian Dior's "Delphine" model)
Lot 33
Estimate € 200/400
Auction Base € 140

Battilocchi, 1950'
Black cocktail dress in faille and velvet
Lot 34
Estimate € 200/400
Auction Base € 140






5 June 2020

3 p.m.


Caetani Lovatelli Palace

Piazza Lovatelli, 1 - Rome



Tel. +39 06 32609795 - 06 3218464



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