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Viva l'Italia!

Italian style has long been admired and envied across the world, and now us Brits can attend a how-to in Italian dressing, thanks to Somerset House. The gallery is launching an exhibition celebrating 150 years of Italian unification with a showcase of work by Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Prada, Gucci and Missoni.

Fashion academic Colin McDowell told Vogue, 'No one is more proud of their country than the Italians. It is the most stylish place in the world. The capital of style always has been and always will be Milan. Italians have a mentality which focuses on craftsmanship and quality. They love brilliant cuts and colour combinations, and they always surprise us. Who'd have thought Miuccia Prada would have thought of bananas? Who'd have thought London's coolest girls would be walking around in bananas?'

He continued, 'When I think of Italy I think of very sexy women. I think of gorgeous boys looking immaculate - they just don't know how to do scruffy. It's about quality and confidence. When I returned from Italy having spent some time there, I couldn't believe how little confidence the British had compared to the Italians. We've come a long way since then, but confidence still belongs to the Italians.'

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