The Pin-Up was born in Italy
Text Luciano Lapadula
Long before Dita Von Teese and Bettie Page, the first Pin-Up in history was born in Italy, thanks to Gino Boccasile’s illustrations. Flashy makeup, wasp waists, slender legs and thin ankles covered with sheer tights, ultra-high heels and fashion dresses that almost seemed to explode over Junoesque bodies, anticipating the image of Sofia Loren. Boccasile was born in Bari in 1901; he soon moved to Milan where he started designing as a dress designer. The shops windows where his creations were displayed were considered as the most glamourous, the universe of fashion had discovered a new talent. This is how the most renowned magazines of the time started competing for him and, after a cooperation with Mondadori and Rizzoli, the autodidact artist left his stunning mark in the history of costume with his illustrations created for the weekly magazine Le Grandi Firme.
From 1937, the covers of the magazine shown illustrations of cheerful girls, with a sensual appearance, veiled with malice, who distracted the readers from the winds of war. The image of unbridled and sexy women portrayed while moving had a huge success, and the Lescano Trio dedicated a song to the magazine, which then became very popular (see the video below).
Initially, Mussolini was conquered by the covers; he could find his beloved Claretta in these girls, however, in 1938 he forbade the publication: the conflict getting closer and those transgressive images were in contrast with the principles of the regime. Meanwhile, Hollywood started proposing the first real Pin-Ups because, as Boccasile stated, life shall be lived on its most evocative side: «nothing is more eloquent than a pair of beautiful legs».