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Walter Albini and His Times: All Power to the Imagination

Walter Albini, L'Uomo Vogue, March 1981. courtesy CSAC

Visionary, dandy, style icon, and superstar, are just a few of the words that come to mind when describing fashion designer Walter Albini. Notably obsessed with detail, (he was an expert in the fields of fabric manufacture and dress-making), Albini has also been recognized for his substantial role in the advent of prêt-à-porter, and his innovations in branding and presentation—we note that he is considered to be one of the first designers to set his shows to music, eschewing the traditional hum-drum descriptive narrative! As Angelo Flaccavento puts it, Albini “…did everything personally…constructing a world, setting his seal upon it, and [offering] it to his viewer-consumer.” Albini is also considered to be one of the first fashion designers to truly comprehend and utilize the power of personality, an example that was to be imitated by nearly every major designer henceforth, and manifest today in celebrity mega designers like Tom Ford.

Walter Albini, Harper's Bazaar USA 1972, photo by Hiro

Albini truly embodied the revolutionary energy and innovative optimism we attribute to both the roaring twenties and 60s/70s fashion and design, and so it seems quite natural that he should cast himself as a living Gatsby in so many of his own advertisements and editorials. If you’ve been following us here on WIJW, it’ll come as no surprise that we feel a huge affinity for the man.

Until recently there has been very little written about Albini, but thanks to Stefano Tonchi and Maria Luisa Frisa’s brilliant book, Walter Albini and His Times: All Power to the Imagination, we’re given a glimpse into the life and work of the genius responsible for so many aspects of the fashion world today. Do get your copy of Walter Albini and His Times: All Power to the Imagination (Mode)straight away! I’m certain you’ll be inspired by the wonderful words and magnificent photos in this new volume.


  1. Dean says:

    Dear James,

    Thanks for informing me about Albini. He seems like a true arbiter.


  2. Must admit, this is my first knowledge of him!
    I’m absolutely intrigued!!


  3. James Andrew says:


    The book reads like a Fitzgerald novel with it’s main character ,beautiful and cursed ,living his life at breakneck speed.

    A must read!



  4. Thank you for this article.

    I confess my ignorance but will try to get the book and find out more about the man.

  5. Matt says:

    Interesting, thanks for sharing James!
    Will definately look out for this book.

  6. James Andrew says:

    Hello Mr World Man About Town and Matt,

    I have such an affinity for Albini, his passion for the decade btwn 1925-35 and the whole 70’s over the top glamour,elegance and decadence is so on target with my own aesthetic.



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