Founded by Mariuccia Mandelli in 1954

Mariuccia Mandelli was originally a primary school teacher, but had always an interest in dress making. In the early 1950s Mandelli became frustrated by the clothes available in shops. Together with a friend, Flora Dolci, she began to design her own clothes.

Initially they started with skirts. Mandelli personally took the designs around Italy to sell directly to the shops. This gave her crucial feedback from street level which she was able to utilize for her future designs.

By 1954 her project had grown to include six workers. Mandelli named the company Krizia, taken from Plato’s dialogue on women’s vanity. In 1957 Krizia presented its first collection immediately attracting the attention of press and buyers. Dresses featuring fruit prints demonstrated the originality and wit of Mandelli’s designs.

In 1963 the label attracted attention with an ensemble of shorts and tops that exposed the midriff. From 1960 to 1963 Mandelli hired Aldo Ferrante to design for Krizia. In 1964 the label presented a black and white collection. Shown at the Pitti Palace in Florence, the designs were striking and resembled Op Art. That same year Karl Lagerfeld began freelance designing for the label.

In 1967 Mandelli added knitwear to her collections which was soon followed by full ready-to-wear ranges including the Kriziamaglia and Kriziababy lines.

In 1987 Greg Myler was appointed a designer at Krizia where he remained until 2000. Alongside this Gianbattista Valli designed for the house from 1995 to 1997. In 2000 Alber Elbaz was appointed head designer at Krizia however, after only one collection he left due a disagreement on terms. Belgian designer Jean-Paul Knott followed from Elbaz but left after only two collections.

Mandelli still designed for Krizia and under her direction Hamish Morrow was appointed as head designer in 2004. Marrow shortly left claiming it was impossible to fulfil his vision for the label.

The label is known for its use of pleating, distinctive, fanciful prints and a tendency towards emphasised shoulders. From the success of Mandelli’s animal motifs, each season she would introduce a new creature to her fashion ‘zoo’. Krizia combines the wit and humour of the designer with the best tradition of Italian luxury.

In February 2014, Krizia was acquired by Shenzhen Marisfrolg, a Chinese corporation owned by entrepreneur and designer Zhu Chongyun, leading to Mandelli stepping down from a leadership role.

In 2015, the historic store on Via della Spiga was renovated, two years later, in January 2017, Simona Clemenza was appointed as the CEO of the company.

Following the acquisition, two Krizia boutiques were opened in China, and in March 2017, the Spazio Krizia was reopened. However, in June 2018, Simona Clemenza left the company.

Krizia Biography

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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

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