The three Fontana sisters, born in Traversetolo, a village near Parma, founded their first atelier near the fashionable Via Veneto in 1943, on a tiny capital, when Zoe got married and moved to Rome.
The youngest sister, Giovanna, who has died aged 88 and was the incarnation of an Italian preference for the practical, kept the accounts, did the administration and designed. After the war, thanks to the glamour life around Cinecittà, the Fontana sisters launched their style, made of tight corsets and soft and wide skirts. In 1948 success came thanks to actress Myrna Loy, wearing only Fontana creations in the film The Lady Brook case, and the sisters started to export to the United States. Among their customers were also Eisenhower, Truman and Kennedy’s wives as well as actresses Linda Christian, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren, Kim Novak, Grace Kelly and Anita Ekberg.