Elio Fiorucci, widely considered one of the most iconic designers of the 1970s, has sadly passed away aged 80. Fiorucci was famous for introducing Swinging London to Milan and for his stretch jeans – he was one of the first designers to create them, following the introduction of Lycra in 1982.
But it was his store that Fiorucci was most famous for. Opened in New York in 1976, its shelves were lined with a selection – or rather a curation – of wares, from fashion to beauty products, music and home décor, much like a 70s equivalent to Dover Street Market. The store was a hub, described by The New York Times as the “daytime Studio 54”, drawing everyone from Andy Warhol, Jackie O., Cher and Elizabeth Taylor. Marc Jacobs spent a whole summer there, though he was only 15 at the time.
“When I was 15, instead of going to sleep-away camp I spent the whole summer hanging out in the store,” Jacobs recalled. “I had this wide-eyed glamour about these beautiful young people that globe-trotted from club to club dressing in these fabulous clothes. It was like a living, breathing fashion show that I wanted so much to be part of.”
But the store was like a club itself, encapsulating the spirit of 70s glamour. “Every day was like a wild party,” recalled drag artist Joey Arias who worked as a salesman at the store. “I'd be helping Jackie O. one minute,” he said. “Then I'd run over and flirt with Lauren Bacall.”
Fiorucci was also referenced in the short film Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Leckey’s 1999 homage to the different phases of UK nightlife – its freedoms and its fashions. Fiorucci was a brand, for better or worse, often worn by British football hooligans, a subculture that Leckey personally identified with as being synonymous with the warehouse rave scenes of the 80s and 90s. Jamie xx sampled the film for his 2014 nostalgia-doused hit “All Under One Roof Raving”, including the word “Fiorucci”.
Watch Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore below: