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How Italian Influences Affected America's Taste For Glamour
Continued from page 2
by Cookie Curci
While Italy's actresses were wearing designer gowns and setting fashion trends, Italy's actors, such as Marcello Mastroianni and Rossano Brazzi, were creating a new look for the American male. They inspired the trend of Italian silk suits, dark glasses, silk shirts, and scarves, monogrammed leather, sporty hats, fast cars and above all else--an attitude--laid back, carefree, "let tomorrow take care of itself." Though this esthetic lifestyle may not have been very practical, it was fun while it lasted. And for a time, the movie-going public couldn't get enough of the Mastroianni and Brazzi Italian accents, or Loren and Lollobrigida's curvaceous figures.
Mastroianni's hit film La Dolce Vita had solidified him as the jet-setters icon. In real life the actor's lifestyle wasn't too dissimilar from the characters he portrayed, which made him even more adored by women and envied by men all over the world. Rossano Brazzi was, in real-life, a happily married man, but Hollywood encouraged his playboy image. He starred in a series of popular romantic films: Three Coins in the Fountain, Summertime and Rome Adventure.
Even the Italian accent was marketable. Comedian Pat Herrington Jr. built a career around it. In 1959, he caused a small sensation when he appeared on Jack Parr's Tonight Show, claiming to be Italian-born Guido Panzini. The public was crazy about the supposed Italian-born comic, until it was revealed that he was actually Harrington, an American-born Irishman.
The Italian lifestyle, its movie stars and sporty cars were an enviable way of life to a generation just beginning to enjoy a prosperous economy; a lifestyle that may not have been as practical as it was enviable. Today, music, styles and trends come and go as quickly as yesterday's news. Fashion isn't very exciting, not like it was in decades past. Autos are driven now for their practicality and not the image they create, and as for hairstyles-well there really aren't any around to copy. And I can't remember the last time I heard an actor with an Italian accent.
At a recent Golden Globe Awards, amidst a bevy of young movie starlets, Kelsey Grammer was asked if he had seen anyone there who impressed him. He replied, "I saw only one person here who totally awed me with her beauty-- Sophia Loren."
It seems this Italian star's beauty radiates from deep within and remains forever timeless.
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