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The ‘Casacca’: Unisex by Emilio Pucci

Celebrated as ‘the king of prints’, Florentine designer Emilio Pucci was not only a master of the decorate surface. Instead, the experimental nature that he expressed through his prints was as effective in volumes and shapes as in the bright colours and patterns he designed.

Since the opening of his shop ‘La Canzone del Mare’ on the island of Capri in the early 1950s, the Marquis Emilio Pucci designed sportswear pieces for the jet set celebrities visiting the international resort during the good season.

The 'casacca', or short tunic, designed by Emilio Pucci, 1950. Courtesy Emilio Pucci Archive, all rights reserved.

The 'casacca', or short tunic, designed by Emilio Pucci, 1950. Courtesy Emilio Pucci Archive, all rights reserved.

Though the vibrant colours of his fabrics – inspired by the natural environment of the island and its waters – may suggest a radiant femininity, his iconic Capri pants and shirts were drawn from the male wardrobe. Exemplifying the ease of the island life, his shapes were rather linear, such as in the case of his iconic ‘casacca’.

Models wearing the 'casacca' printed with the 'Riccioli' design, 1957. Courtesy Emilio Pucci Archive, all rights reserved.

The ‘casacca’, or short tunic, had since been a recurrent element in his collections. Romantic in its idea and reminding of both the simple clothes worn by the island fishermen and women and the styles of the Florentine Renaissance, the ‘casacca’ is composed by two straight panels with short tears on the sides, sleeves of variable length and a swan collar, usually worn folded.

Two models wearing the 'casacca' printed with the 'Onda' design, 'Palio' collection. Courtesy Emilio Pucci, all rights reserved.

Two models wearing the 'casacca' printed with the 'Onda' design, 'Palio' collection. Courtesy Emilio Pucci, all rights reserved.

The a-gendered line of the tunic, to be worn with the narrow Capri trousers, had been thus exasperated in some rare menswear experiments of the designer. In the late 1950s, for example, male and female models were portraited wearing the ‘casacca’ in the same style and prints, with black trousers and shoes. Though a-genderism and unisex themes might have been distant from the romantic vocabulary of the designer, these designs highlight the modern sensibility that surrounded the exceptional work of Emilio Pucci.

Discover the Emilio Pucci’s ‘casacca’ in the Europeana Fashion collection.

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