Say the words “colours of Italy” and most people will think about red and white chequered tablecloths or red, green and white from a pizzeria. Italy has much more to offer than that. The robust Mediterranean landscape paints with vivid colours from coast to coast and has been home to some of the most renowned artists and designers one generation after another.
During the Renaissance, motifs became a popular choice of fabric for the upper classes. Italian Renaissance fabrics were even enriched with gold or silver threads to add to their opulence.
Many of these patterns persist in Italian designs today – both in textiles used as accent pieces or even linen face masks – or in ceramics used as decorations around the house.
Italian design does not need to be cavalier to be sophisticated. In fact, some of the most bespoke Italian designs appear to be almost casual at first glance. This lack of pretence that has made Italian designs – from fashion to vehicles – synonymous with luxury.
That doesn’t mean Italian designs can’t or doesn’t ever like to show off. Renaissance art, cathedrals and the famous coliseum are some of the most elaborate and complex designs even to this day.
From coast to city, Italy has some of the most picturesque views in the world. From Capri to Cagliari, Italian colours and patterns inspire innovation in design while evoking nostalgia for long and lazy afternoons dozing in the sun.
Luxury of Capri
Nestled in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrento Peninsula, the island of Capri is best-known for its alluring azure waters. Bold and blue, it is framed by hilltop houses and green shrubs. When the lights go on at night, their yellow glow looks much like the lemons the island is known for. The zesty yellow fruit is found everywhere here, adding a contrasting accent to the deep green and blue hues that enfold much of the landscape.
Like most of Italy, Capri is bold on the surface and prefers to hide its luxuries in the finer details. From the delicate foliage hidden beneath the brash green to the delicate roof trims on the churches dotted across the island, Capri is simple and complicated at once.
These intricacies translate to textiles beautifully. When pristine prints are married with robust fabrics like linen and cotton blends, the luxury of Capri comes alive.
Sensation of Amalfi
This town has a quintessentially Italian look. The rocky hilltops dotted with houses, all following the path down to deep waters. Amalfi, though, is not as vivid as some of the other famous Italian coastal towns. It’s located at the foot of Monte Cerreto, at the mouth of a deep river bed.
While you will certainly still find vivid yellows, particularly the variant of lemon that is produced only here, Amalfi’s textures are more intricate from the onset. Unapologetic about being complex, the patters from this coastal town are more subtle on colour, like magazine pages that have somewhat faded over the years.
But what Amalfi lacks in brightness, it makes up for in craftsmanship. The Amlafi Cathedral is visually striking. Saint Andrew's Cathedral (Duomo) overlooks the Piazza Duomo, but it's the starkness of the church's facade that inspires much of the Amalfi textures.
Windows adorned with pastel yellows, turquoise and blues, arched towards the skies as if they are bound in prayer.
Sophistication of Napoli
Once home to Sophia Loren and the birthplace of pizza, Napoli is the third-largest city in Italy. Naples is brash, sprawling across the Italian coastline in its rusty coloured houses, punctuated by the deep blue of the ocean.
Napoli isn’t as casual as the coastal towns or islands of the country, but it is the place that has come to define one of the most-sought-after luxury clothing items known today: the Italian designer suit.
The art of Neapolitan tailoring has been around for centuries, but it came into its own with the dawn of the Neapolitan suit. The anthesis of the stiff English suit, without compromising on the craftsmanship of tailoring, this is a celebration of the brash landscape and textiles Napoli is famed for.
Neapolitan textiles and patterns embody simplistic sophistication, preferring clean and strong to playful patterns.