Antonio Berardi

Shonagh Marshall

Designer Biography

DOI: 10.5040/9781474260428-FPA055

Antonio Berardi was born in 1968 in Grantham, Lincolnshire, UK, to Sicilian parents who had emigrated to England in the 1950s. His Sicilian heritage is something that has inspired him throughout his career. Berardi’s love for clothing started when he was a child and his father accompanied him to Savile Row in London to get fitted for a suit.

Berardi applied for the BA Fashion Women’s Wear course at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design in London, but was rejected twice and during this period he worked as John Galliano’s assistant. Accepted upon his third application, he graduated in 1994, having continued to gain experience with Galliano during his studies.

Upon graduation, Berardi set up his eponymous label and in 1995 showed his debut collection at London Fashion Week. The show received rave reviews and interest from buyers such as Liberty and A La Mode. The show, however, is most notable for having Kylie Minogue as the main model. Berardi’s dressing of celebrities is something he continues to be renowned for and celebrated for. In 2009 he was awarded Dress of the Year at the Bath Museum of Costume by Lucy Yeomans of Harper’s Bazaar for his spring/summer 2009 black-and-white trompe l’oeil corset dress, which received unprecedented attention after being worn on the red carpet by Gwyneth Paltrow to the premiere of her film Two Lovers in Paris, in November 2008. History repeated itself in April 2013 when Paltrow once again wore a revealing Berardi dress from his fall/winter collection of 2013 to the Iron Man 3 premiere, after being rated the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by People magazine.

Part of the UK’s Cool Britannia movement of the 1990s, Berardi showed on schedule in London until 1999, when he moved his catwalk show to Milan. His last London show was spring/summer 2000, which most notably featured a hand-blown Murano glass corset and a handmade lace dress that took Sicilian lacemakers three months to complete; his use of luxurious materials and craft was ever present. Berardi’s signature style is to use luxury fabrics, fashioning them into hand-tailored, body-conscious pieces that are often highly decorated. Citing his Sicilian roots as a source of inspiration, he often uses Catholic symbolism in his work. While designing under his own name, he designed collections for the Italian leather company Ruffo in the late 1990s and ready-to-wear label Exte in the early 2000s. After showing collections in Milan and Paris, Berardi returned to London Fashion Week in 2009 in honor of the British Fashion Council’s twenty-fifth anniversary, staging his spring/summer collection of 2010 at a church on North Audley Street.

Antonio Berardi, Fall/Winter 1999 Photograph by Niall McInerney, Fashion Photography Archive

References and Further Reading

Find in Library Armstrong Lisa. ““Antonio Berardi: Back on Top Thanks to Gwyneth’s Bottom”.” The Guardian , 3 May 2013 .

Find in Library Evans Caroline. Fashion at the Edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness . New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, 2003.

Find in Library Mower Sarah. ““Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear: Antonio Berardi”.” , 20 September 2009.