Giacomo Puccini called her “Bicchi” and, in time, everybody called her Biki, thanks to the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, who transformed her childhood nickname into something exotic. “I’m just a seamstress,” Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure once said, the inventor of the “Made in Italy” label, stylist to Maria Callas, Sofia Loren and Brigitte Bardot. Her golden childhood was marked by the influence of huge cultural giants on her upbringing. Characters like Giacomo Puccini, to her “Nonno Tato”, her grandmother’s second husband. When she met, in Paris, art collector Robert Boyeure, her future husband, Biki came into contact with the fashion world and was immediately bewitched. Her constant contact with this world, after one voyage to Paris after another, gave her the idea of turning her natural fashion sense into a creative vocation. Thus, in 1934, she opened her first atelier. At her Milanese studio at Via Senato 8, the first styles inspired by Parisian fashion began to appear, designed and manufactured by Gina Cicogna and Biki, who quickly became convinced that their creations were destined to dress women everywhere. The combination of colours (eccentric for the time), such as blue and green, soon became a trademark of her unmistakable style.
A Jewel of the Sixteenth Century, the Casa degli Omenoni
Treasures by Leonardo, Tiziano and Correggio shone bright in the residence of the sculptor and collector Leone Leoni. Today, eight important statues offer a taste of the grandeur of this home, just a few steps away from the Duomo.