February 13, 2012

Little Known Labels: Gino Paoli

Just as vintage clothing fashionistas today look to Italy for posh labels and luxurious materials, so did fashion-savvy women of decades ago. And when you look beyond labels with longevity and household names like Italian companies Gucci or Pucci, there are many more labels that once existed and created a signature style and quality unsurpassed since.

One such label is Gino Paoli, an Italian company that thrived on beautiful knitwear and leather, hand-finished and often in rich jeweltone hues. Classic Gino Paoli clothing includes two-piece knit suits, sweaters, dresses and leather paneled jackets. We usually see the suits with suede panels in a hue perfectly matched to the knit. The jackets are either suede or leather, sometimes two-tone as seen above.
Though they're often seen in neutrals (like bone or camel), some have vibrant colors that grew increasingly trend-focused into the 1960s. Paoli knits exist from the 1950s through the 1970s, with most made in the late 1950s to mid-1960s. They're inevitably wool knit, sometimes suede/leather, but later in the 1960s they diversified to produce less expensive woven A-line casual skirts. By the 1970s Paoli did not seem to be as popular as we see it less often in this era, and its knits were synthetic to follow the polyester trend of its day. Paoli labels do not appear to exist after the mid-1970s.

Gino Paoli is not especially rare, although its expensive price tags in the 1960s indicate it was not a mass-quantity line and it's not often found today in large quantity. Paoli labels, while costing hundreds per ensemble in the 1960s, are also not yet expensive in the collecting world today. This makes it a smart choice for the vintage clothing buyer who's seeking haute style for the price of ready-to-wear.
Paoli garments are readily wearable in most cases, with a few points to consider that are inherent to their design:

  • Knit - We suggest hanging Paoli garments on a thick shoulder-like hanger similar to those you'd use for the best and heaviest overcoats. A knit garment in a medium-thick weight can stretch out of shape over the shoulders if stored on a too-thin hanger. Alternatively you can store knit Paoli items flat, with the fewest folds possible if it has leather/suede panels.
  • Wool - Wool items by Paoli don't need particular attention beyond the average wool garment, except to note that when shopping for wool, notice if there are any holes due to clothes moths. An excellent vintage clothing dealer can repair these holes, often with little sign of its repair.
  • Suede - Suede requires some special care as it will stain if moisture reaches it, and must be cleaned by a leather care expert. That being said, it's an exceptionally soft and beautiful material that many collectors covet for its quality, and of all vintage suedes, Paoli created some of the best.

View our current selection of Gino Paoli vintage clothing to dress well at beautiful prices. Until next time, Ciao!