Throughout the years, Italy has easily become one of the biggest fashion capitals in the world, producing iconic designers like Valentino, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, and Versace. It’s no real surprise that it’s also produced some pretty iconic Italian models from all over the country who not only control the fashion scene but blaze trails as international style icons.
While traditional fashion scenes favor shows and photo shoots, Italian models prefer to make the streets of Milan, Rome, and Florence their own personal catwalk. Italian models have perfected the art of street-style fashion, combining haute couture and modern culture to create chic, practical outfits that can be paraded around town and flaunted on Instagram. Street-style icons like Chiara Ferragni and Nicoletta Reggio have changed the way we view fashion — instead of turning strictly to magazines and fashion designers, we now turn to bloggers and social media influencers.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Italian models — those who have blazed trails in the fashion industry, who have created their own fame through personal style and the media, and who have changed the way we look at everyday style. If you didn’t believe in the power of street-style before, these chic, trendy Italian models will make you want to reconsider.
Here are some of the leading Italian models in today’s fashion industry:
Chiara Ferragni didn’t start her career like many other Italian models. For Chiara, it all started with a blog. Chiara created The Blonde Salad in 2009 while attending law school. Within two years, she was already labeled one of the biggest breakout stars in street-style fashion. Just a few years later, she made her way to the first slot on Forbes‘s 2017 list of most powerful fashion influencers. But Chiara’s fashion pursuits weren’t tied solely to her blog. She’s modeled for Guess and collaborated on a footwear line with Steve Madden. She became the first fashion blogger to ever appear on a Vogue cover, made an appearance as a guest judge on season 13 of Project Runway, and started her own fashion line, Chiara Ferragni Collection footwear, with a corresponding store in Milan. Mattel even created a Barbie in her image! With over 13 million Instagram followers, you can’t say Chiara Ferragni isn’t a self-made success among Italian models.
Patricia Manfield is a triple threat: she’s a blogger, influencer, and a singer. Oh yeah, and did I mention she’s an Italian model? She grew popular through her blog and on social media, most specifically Instagram, where she currently has 364k followers. But when Patricia began, she was just a business student with a year of law school under her belt and big dreams: her parents had been classical musicians, and she knew that she, too, wanted to find her place in the world of music and fashion. At the suggestion of her then-boyfriend, she started up her blog, and within just a few years, she became one of the biggest street-style names, surpassing well-known Italian models. She recently began sharing her music via Instagram, under the stage name Heirs.
Nicoletta Reggio first made a splash as a street-style fashionista when she published her blog Scent of Obsession in 2011. It was considered one of the most influential blogs in Italy and kickstarted her career as both a social media influencer and an Italian model. Since then, she has worked with major designers such as Dior, Kérastaste, Chloé and Chanel. She currently works as a blogger, photographer, stylist, and creative director out of Milan.
Unlike the street-style influencers that grew more and more popular with the rise of social media, Vittoria Ceretti is an Italian model who was discovered at the young age of 14 when she became a finalist for Italy’s Elite Model Look competition. She made her runway debut in Milan for Kristina Ti and has since walked for nearly all of the iconic designers of our time, including Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, and Prada. By 19, Cittoria had already walked 100 catwalks, a number that’s only grown significantly with every passing year.
Beatrice Valli got her start as an Italian model in a pretty non-traditional way: through a dating show. She starred on the Italian TV Program “Uomini e Donne” (or, in English, “Men and Women”), where she appeared in an attempt to meet a male partner. While she was a particularly controversial contestant due to her aspirations to be a model (many believed she was on the show for fame instead of love), she eventually left the show to be with Marco Fantini, one of the show’s other contestants whom she is now married to and has a child with. She is now the face and name between Capsule swimwear and is a major Instagram influencer who collaborates with different brands to advertise to her 1.8 million followers.
Nicole Mazzocato doesn’t like to call herself an Italian model, possibly because she’s been working with photography since she was 10 or possibly because she’s so much more. She’s also a dancer who practices jazz, ballet, and tip tap, an actress who’s performed in multiple theater productions, and a competitive tennis player, among other things. She competed for the title of Miss Italy in 2010 and later appeared on the Italian TV program “Uomini e Donne” (or, in English, “Men and Women”), where she competed for love and met her husband, fashion blogger Fabio Colloricchio.
Federica Nargi is an Italian model, showgirl, television presenter, and actress from Rome. As a child, she attended dance school and competed in various beauty pageants, later leading to her 2007 title of Miss Rome (she placed 11th in the finals of the Miss Italy competition). Since then, Federica has appeared in multiple TV programs, music videos, and even TV shows. She has become a model and testimonial for multiple brands, including Koralline, Goldenpoint, and Garnier, and represented Mizuno at Pitti Uomo, one of the world’s largest fashion industry events.
Melissa Satta-Boateng may have been born in Boston, but she spent most of her childhood growing up on the Italian island of Sardinia. She’s best known as an Italian TV presenter (most notably as a showgirl on “Striscia la notizia”), but Melissa has plenty of experience as an Italian model, too. She started working in the fashion industry at the age of 16, competing successfully in beauty pageants and parading catwalks in Milan, and went on to make appearances in magazines such as Maxim and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
Natalia Bonifacci may be an Italian model, but she’s also a storyteller. After becoming one of GRAZIA‘s It-girls in 2011, she began blogging for the publication daily, sharing not only her fashion tips but her advice on how to live a happier, healthier life. She soon became an editor at Solar Magazine and a writer at RedMilk Magazine, though her passion for storytelling didn’t end there. She used her platforms to jump-start her acting career, starring in the music video for Martin Garrix and Usher’s “Don’t Look Down” and landing a role in James Franco’s TV movie “L.A. Stories.”
Giorgia Tordini is a street-style star and It-girl who rose to stardom all on her own. Before she became one of the most prominent Italian models of her generation, she studied fashion design at school and consulted for brands for years. However, thanks to social media, her own brand took off, garnering over 183k followers on Instagram alone. She and fellow fashion icon Gilda Ambrosio launched their line “Attico” in 2016, originally specializing in robe dresses but soon evolving into a full collection of vintage-inspired pieces. She has since appeared in Vogue, The Cut, and W Magazine, among other well-known publications.
Giorgia Palmas started off her career on a strong note when she received second place at the Miss World competition in 2000, losing only to Miss India. Soon after, she began working on the TV program “Striscia la notizia”, cementing her popularity with the Italian people and later growing her social media presence to over 1.3 million followers. Aside from being a brand ambassador and Italian model, Giorgia continues to strengthen her television presence, and even became the winner of a reality TV show called “The Island of the Famous.”
Cristina Chiabotto is an Italian model, TV presenter and showgirl who started off her career on the right foot when she won the Miss Italia beauty contest in 2004. She won the Italian version of “Dancing with the Stars” and worked as a host for a variety of Italian shows, including Italy’s version of “Real TV.” Christina has been the face of several advertising campaigns, such as for Cotonella and Chateau d’Ax, and has amassed over 508k Instagram followers.
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez is a Filipina-Italian model who made a name for herself after becoming a finalist in the Miss Italy beauty pageant and appearing in GQ Italy, but her influence isn’t contained merely to the world of fashion. She recently made a splash in the #MeToo movement when she helped expose the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. After reporting him to the police for sexual abuse, she wore a wire to her next meeting with him and recorded him admitting he had assaulted her. While Ambra’s relationship with the media has been controversial since then, she was hired by Victoria’s Secret as a model and cemented her role as a fashion influencer on Instagram.