The 8 Richest Italian Fashion Designers, As Of 2022

Art, design, and architecture have long been the trademarks of Italy. As one of the world’s top fashion design countries, it has a rich history of notable figures, remarkable designs, and shows that have drawn celebrities worldwide. It all began after World War II, with assistance from the US under the Marshall Plan, where Italy began its illustrious fashion house industry. Family textile businesses were encouraged to expand, and Italian designers began producing merchandise brands expressing brilliance in their creative abilities and skilled craftsmanship.

Consequently, these outstanding designers have risen to the top thanks to their high-quality products that exude elegance. So it comes as no surprise that they often appear on the covers of your fav fashion magazines and editorials.  What’s more, they’ve also raked in a ton of cash thanks to their stunning pieces, earning a spot among the world’s wealthiest people. Let’s have a look at eight of the richest Italian fashion designers we can muster up to date.

8 Giorgio Armani – $6.5 Billion

Giorgio Armani is a global icon in the realm of high-end menswear, having introduced a softer, more austere aesthetic to the industry. He dropped out of medical school to serve his country in the military before landing a job as a buyer and display decorator at Milan’s La Rinascente department store. In later years, he worked as a fashion designer for Nino Cerruti before establishing his own label in the middle of the 1970s with the assistance of his business partner, Sergio Galeotti. After he was requested to design the costume that actor Richard Gere wore in the 1980 box office hit American Gigolo, his business took off in a big way. It wasn’t long before his commercial pursuits went beyond suits to include everything from sportswear to interior design to real estate.

7 Miuccia Prada – $4.7 Billion

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What would the devil wear if Prada wasn’t around? I guess we’ll never know. Founded in 1913 by Mario Prada, Prada is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable names in the annals of the fashion industry. Miuccia Prada, the brand’s lead designer and co-CEO has been the driving force behind the brand’s innovation and exquisite style. She took over the family business in 1977 along with her siblings Alberto and Marina Prada. She started making waterproof backpacks until she met her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, who ran a luxury leather company at the time. Her debut product, a black nylon bag with a silver triangular label, was her first major commercial hit. Soon after, her designs for shoes and handbags were the center of attention for trendy customers in the United States, Europe, and Japan. As the company grew, they began purchasing other businesses and transforming it into today’s fashion juggernaut.

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6 Patrizio Bertelli – $4.7 Billion

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The beginning of Patrizio Bertelli’s rise to wealth was the establishment of a modest factory in the city of Arezzo, which produced leather items such as belts, bags, and other accessories. After meeting Miuccia in 1977, he joined the Prada family business, and their collaboration changed the course of Prada’s history. The profound creativity of Miuccia and Bertelli’s business acumen was instrumental in expanding the Prada brand. By working together, the company has grown to become a global fashion giant.

5 Valentino Garavani – $1.5 Billion

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Valentino Garavani got his start in the fashion industry by serving as an apprentice for both his aunt and a local designer. When he finished his studies in Paris, he returned to Rome to launch a fashion house. In 1962, Valentino launched his first designer fashion line at the Pitti Palace in Florence and began to build a reputation around the world. The likes of Belgian Queen Paola, Princess Margaret of England, Audrey Hepburn, and Jacqueline Kennedy quickly sought him out for his magnificent designs. Soon, Valentino’s creations were regarded as the pinnacle of Italian haute couture.

4 Stefano Gabbana – $1.2 Billion

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Dolce & Gabbana, popularly known as D&G, is a deluxe fashion house widely regarded as one of the world’s most famous brands. Stefano Gabbana is Dolce & Gabbana’s Milanese half. He studied art and graphics, but later, he decided to forego a career as an artist in favor of a career in the fashion industry. In 1980, he was introduced to Dolce, and a few years later, the two of them began working for the same fashion firm as assistant designers. In 1993, Madonna gave the duo their first major break by selecting them to create the outfits she would wear on her Girlie tour. In the years that have followed, the company has grown to be a phenomenal success, garnering several accolades and recognition on a global scale.

3 Domenico Dolce – $1.2 Billion

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In the Dolce & Gabbana duo, Domenico Dolce is the Sicilian half. His father was a tailor by trade, which fueled his interest in fashion as a young man. After that, he relocated to Milan, where he found work in a design studio. He and Stefano Gabbana met in a nightclub in 1980 and established Dolce & Gabbana soon after. Together, they’ve emerged from the shadows to become two of the most well-known fashion designers today. Men and women such as Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Nicole Kidman have all worn their creations, as have celebrities like Tom Cruise. People compete to wear their clothes to public occasions, where they can bask in the attention they receive.

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2 Roberto Cavalli – $500 Million

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Born in Florence, Italy in 1940, Roberto’s career began in 1970 but he was relatively unheard of until 1990 when his career really took off. He honed his swanky approach at his namesake label – now run by creative director Paul Surridge. His creative animal printing techniques have also won him the moniker “King of fashion animalier” as defined by The New York Times in 2001.

1 Donatella Versace – $400 million

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Donatella is the younger sister of famed designer Gianni Versace. She inherited Versace after Gianni’s tragic death in 1997. She has served as Versace’s CEO, chief creative officer, and artistic director. In 2018, she played a key role in the company’s sale to Michael Kors for a staggering $2.12 billion. Surprisingly, in that same year, she became the first woman to ever win the Designer of the Year title at the “GQ” Men awards among her many accolades.

The richness of Italian fashion trends does not end here; they are a unique fusion of luxury, contemporary flair, and historical inspirations that can be found nowhere else.

Source: Discover walks, Vogue, Forbes, Biographies,

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