Blumarine and the Queen of Roses

Posted on March 23 2021

In 1977, in Carpi, a small Italian town near Modena, Anna Molinari and husband Gianpaolo Tarabini launched their fashion brand Blumarine – so named as a reference to their favourite colour, ocean blue. 


Blumarine had its catwalk debut in 1980 at Modit, Italy’s most important fashion trade show at the time, where the label was awarded Designer of the Year. This allowed Molinari and Tarabini to take part in Milan Fashion Week the following year.


At Milan Fashion Week in 1986, Molinari showed the first collection she designed completely herself. The Queen of Roses – a nickname given to her because of her affinity for the flowers – became the queen of the runway. The public was hooked on her romantic, clever and joyful pieces and Blumarine’s place in Italian fashion was fixed. 


The young designer was inspired by the colours and trends of the 1970s, which she infused with her own life experiences and her love of travel, art, music and nature – especially those beautiful roses. The result was collections of fun and feminine fashion, whimsical romance blended with bold colours and joie-de-vivre.


Supermodel Adriana Lima in Blumarine
Photo courtesy of Ellen von Unwerth

A shot from Blumarine’s 1997 collection, one of the first jobs supermodel Adriana Lima ever had.


As Blumarine gained popularity and demand increased, Molinari licensed the name to other companies to allow them to produce lingerie, accessories, wristwatches, homewares and fragrances. As of 2007, the company has produced its leather bags and accessories itself.


By 1990, the brand was successful enough to open a flagship store in Via della Spiga, in Milan’s fashion district. Today, Blumarine is stocked in more than 1000 stores around the world, of which 55 are own-brand. 


Buoyed by success and global demand for Blumarine fashion, in 1995 Molinari added the Anna Molinari range, designed by the couple’s daughter Rossella Tarabini, to the stable. The same year, the brand started a sister label for younger women, called Blugirl, which was followed by Blugirl Folies, for young teens, in 2007. Molinari later expanded into menswear with the launch of Blu Sport at Milan Fashion Week in 2015. 


Molinari and Rossella
Credit: Molinari and Rossella, photo courtesy of Fashion for Breakfast


Today, all the labels live under the parent company Blufin, and are still managed by the family: Rossella is a designer for the company and her brother, Gianguido, joined the company in 1992 and became the CEO when their father died in 2006.


However, with one eye on the future, Blumarine opened its ranks and welcomed Nicola Brognano as creative director in late 2019. Brognano attended Milan’s Marangoni Fashion School, then spent time in Paris, working with Giambattista Valli on ready-to-wear and couture collections. In 2016 he won Vogue Italia’s prestigious Who Is On Next award for his synonymous brand Brognano, before hitting pause on that project to shake things up at Blumarine.


Bringing a fresh eye and youthful approach to the label, his first collection was inspired by the excesses of the early aughts and mega celebrities of the era like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.


In a departure from Blumarine’s early romantic stylings, Brognano has called his take on the label, “more dirty, bitchy, sexier”. And it’s getting attention, especially among today’s hard-to-impress It girls.


Kendall Jenner, for one, celebrated Christmas Eve last year wearing Blumarine embellished top and Leopard pants .


Kendall Jenner Christmas Looks
Image: instagram @kimkardarshian


Dua Lipa attended last year’s premiere of Baby Driver in a hot pink Blumarine bralette and matching wide-leg pants, and looked amazing. 


Dua Lipa Blumarine
Credit: Photo courtesy of Dave J Hogan


Selena Gomez has been spotted out and about in Blumarine a few times, like this striped dress she wore for Saturday Night Live and this sheer blouse and tulle skirt combo she wore to Ischia Global Film & Music Fest a few years ago. 


Selena Gomez in Blu Marine
 Credit: Photo courtesy of Saturday Night Live


Selena Gomez in Blu Marine
Credit: Image courtesy of Hawt Celebs


Ariana Grande and Rihanna are also rumoured to have requested pieces from the line. 


But in a nostalgic twist, the rose so beloved by Molinari still appears on Brognano’s Blumarine pieces. Digital prints, 3D knitted rosettes, abstract styles – they’re not the roses of yesteryear, but the Queen of Roses still reigns supreme. 


Find Blumarine at outlet prices at Estro, the home of designer outlet shopping in Sydney.


- By Hannah Warren


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