Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure
Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure
Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure, 1950’s
|Born||June 1, 1906|
|Died||February 24, 1999(aged 92)|
|Occupation||fashion designer and couturier|
|Known for||Long-term stylist of Maria Callas|
|Relatives||Giacomo Puccini (step grandfather)|
Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure (June 1, 1906 – February 24, 1999), known as Biki, the granddaughter of composer Giacomo Puccini, was a notable Italian fashion designer and couturier of the post-war period based in Milan. Her clients were mainly connected to the La Scala opera theatre. Biki is known as the creator of the style for Maria Callas who she first met in 1951 at a dinner party organized by Wally Toscanini.
Bouyeure was born in Milan on June 1, 1906. She studied at A. Manzoni linguistic school where she also learned music and singing. Bouyeure travelled to Paris many times and decided to learn fashion. After a few years apprenticeship she created a line of French-style underwear named "Domina" (the name was proposed by the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio who was a friend of the Puccini family).
Biki designed a plain black evening cape in wool crepe for Callas that she wore for the 1970 opening of the Teatro alla Scala season in Milan, a paisley coat in 1971, and also a floor-length dress with silk satin collar which she wore in 1973 for the farewell concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Biki's name was given to her as a child by her step grandfather Puccini who called her Bicchi (Italian "birichina" for naughty girl). She married art expert Robert Bouyeure in 1936. They had a daughter named Roberta, born in 1937.
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