Her grandfather was Giacomo Puccini. One of her closest friends was Toscanini’s daughter. She belonged to the Milanese upper class, had a cosmopolitan upbringing, and lived a life of privileges. She also loved fashion, and in spite of her high-ranking family’s wishes decided to go work, quickly becoming one of the most famous Italian couturieres. During a carrier that spanned 50 years, Biki - full name Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure - dressed society ladies, movie stars, and the Divina “par excellence” Maria Callas. The famous soprano got her historic makeover in Biki’s atelier and forged with her Pygmalion a long-lasting friendship.
Simona Segre Reinach is a cultural anthropologist and a Professor of Fashion Studies at the University of Bologna. Author of several books, she recently digged into Biki’s archives and published for Rizzoli Biki: French Vision for Italian Fashion.