Ferdinando Sarmi

Count Ferdinando Sarmi (born c. 1916) was the head of the Sarmi fashion design house in New York City. Ferdinando Sarmi was born into a wealthy Italian family. He expressed interest in fashion as a youth but was discouraged from pursuing a design career by his father. Sarmi stated in a 1965 interview with Time, "in Italy, when the oldest son tells his father he wants to be a dress designer, it's like a woman saying she intends to be a prostitute". Sarmi's father sent him to study at the University of Siena, where he received a doctor of law degree. Despite his professional training, Sarmi still desired a career in fashion. He became a costume designer and created costumes for two Italian films: Musica Proibita (released as Forbidden Music in the US) in 1942 and Cronaca di un Amore (released as Story of a Love Affair in the US) in 1950. Sarmi was given a leading role in Cronaca di un Amore, but it was his first and only on-screen performance. He left Italy in 1951 to work in New York fashion. From 1951 to 1959, Sarmi was head designer for Elizabeth Arden.


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