Beautiful girl with majolica patterned blouse

Majolica: The Pattern that Captivates Many High Fashion Designers

10 min read

Join art and fashion enthusiast Isabella as she explores the fascinating world of majolica - a classic pattern that has captured the hearts of designers and art lovers alike. From its vibrant colors to intricate designs, majolica continues to inspire top designers such as Dolce & Gabbana in the world of high fashion.

10 min read

As an art and fashion enthusiast, I have always been captivated by the majolica pattern as it perfectly encapsulates the famous Italian "la dolce vita" essence. In this article, I will take you on a journey to discover the origins of majolica, explore its various uses in architecture, and reveal how top designers have incorporated this timeless pattern into their creations.

What is Majolica?

Majolica is a pattern made world-famous by several high fashion designers. Originating from Renaissance Italy, this ceramic pattern is known for its intricate designs and vibrant colors. What makes it truly special is how it has inspired not only art and design but also fashion and architecture.

With its vibrant colors, intricate designs, and rich history, it's no wonder that this beautiful pattern continues to inspire today's top designers.

The History of Majolica

Majolica, also known as maiolica, traces its roots back to the 9th-century Islamic world, with its name derived from the Spanish island of Majorca, an important trading center for this type of pottery. It arrived in Italy during the Renaissance, where it quickly gained popularity due to its bright, colorful patterns and glossy finish. Throughout history, majolica has been used in various forms of art and design, including pottery, tiles, and decorative objects.

However, majolica gets often confused with azulejos, a type of glazed tilework that originated in Portugal during the 13th century.

Majolica and azulejos, despite having some similarities, as both feature intricate designs and vibrant colors, are technically two distinct types of ceramic work.

Visually, majolica and azulejos can be separated from each other by their surface texture and the type of glaze used. Majolica has a smooth surface with a glossy glaze, while azulejos have a rougher, more porous surface that allows the ceramic body to show through.

In terms of design, majolica often features intricate hand-painted designs with a variety of colors, including blues, yellows, greens, and browns. The designs on majolica often have a softer, more organic feel and can be quite detailed.

Azulejos, on the other hand, often feature a repeating pattern or a large-scale image. The color palette of azulejos is often more limited, with blues, whites, and yellows being the most common colors used.

Wall of azulejos tiles in Portugal

Majolica in Your Must-Visit Destinations

In Italy, majolica ceramics can be found throughout the country, from grand palaces to small villages. The majolica pattern has become synonymous with the Italian design aesthetic and is often used in architecture to evoke a sense of luxury and sophistication.

When I think of majolica, I think of the bright and colorful ceramics that adorn the walls and floors of Italian villas and palazzos.

Capri, an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, is known for its beautiful landscapes and luxurious lifestyle. The use of majolica is quite common in the architecture and interior design of the luxurious private villas and hotels located on the island.

As an art enthusiast and lover of all things beautiful, my first visit to Capri was truly memorable.

I will always remember walking along the narrow streets and being constantly surrounded by the vibrant colors and designs of the majolica tiles that adorned the buildings around me.

It was a feast for the eyes, and it was wonderful to see how this classic pattern continues to inspire and captivate us today.

On the Amalfi Coast, the town of Vietri sul Mare is known as the "City of Ceramics" for its long tradition of creating majolica ceramics. The town is home to many ceramic workshops and boutiques, and its streets are lined with colorful majolica-tiled buildings. Visitors can also explore the Museo della Ceramica, which showcases the town's rich ceramic heritage.

The Museum of Tiles Stanze al Genio is located in the heart of Palermo, Sicily, and is dedicated to the art of ceramic tiles. The museum's collection includes over 3,000 pieces of tilework, dating back to the 17th century. The tiles on display come from all over the world, including Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands, and feature a variety of different tile styles, including majolica, azulejos, and delftware.

Ceramic tiles museum Stanze al Genio in Palermo
Tiles museum Stanze al Genio in Palermo
© Stanze al Genio

Who are the Famous Designers Inspired by Majolica?

In recent years, the majolica pattern has made a comeback in high-end fashion. Designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta and Emilio Pucci have incorporated the pattern into their collections, creating bold and colorful pieces that capture the essence of Italian luxury.

What makes the majolica pattern truly special is its ability to evoke a sense of beauty and elegance that is quintessentially Italian.

As a lover of fashion and art, I can attest to the fact that the majolica pattern is both timeless and versatile. It's a pattern that can be adapted to suit different tastes and styles, whether it's through a bold and colorful dress or a subtle and sophisticated handbag.

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana, an Italian luxury fashion house, has long been inspired by the rich cultural heritage of Italy. The designers have used the pattern in many of their collections, including their Spring/Summer 2016 collection (covered by Vogue), which featured bold and colorful majolica-inspired prints on dresses, skirts, and accessories. The designers have used the vibrant colors and intricate designs of the majolica pattern to create show-stopping looks that pay homage to their Italian roots.

Woman wearing Dolce & Gabbana long majolica patterned dress
Woman wearing Dolce & Gabbana majolica patterned jumpsuit
© Vogue

Emilio Pucci

Emilio Pucci is another luxury designer who has incorporated the majolica pattern into his collections. Pucci's 2018 resort wear collection (covered by Vogue) was a celebration of the Italian island of Capri, known for its natural beauty, glamorous lifestyle, and stunning architecture. The prints on the garments were a mix of floral and geometric designs, with bold colors like red, blue, yellow, and green dominating the palette. With its nod to the majolica tiles of Capri, the collection captured the essence of the island's glamour and sophistication.

Emilio Pucci's 2018 resort collection dress
Emilio Pucci's 2018 resort collection outfit
© Vogue

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta, the late Dominican-American fashion designer, was renowned for his sophisticated and feminine designs. In his 2015 spring collection (covered by Vogue), he showcased a series of pieces that incorporate the majolica pattern, blending traditional motifs with modern silhouettes. Flowing dresses, fitted skirts, and structured jackets featuring the distinctive majolica pattern, paired with delicate floral motifs. His crations have been a nod to the timeless elegance of majolica, demonstrating de la Renta's ability to merge classic and contemporary elements in his designs.

Woman wearing Oscar de la Renta white majolica patterned lace dress
Woman wearing Oscar de la Renta black majolica patterned top and white majolica patterned skirt
© Vogue


Valentino, another legendary Italian fashion house, has also been inspired by the majolica pattern. In their 2015 spring/summer collection (covered by Vogue), the brand featured a stunning series of pieces that pay tribute to the beauty of Italy's Amalfi Coast, where the majolica pattern is prevalent. Valentino's interpretation of majolica incorporated the traditional pattern but added unique touches such as intricate embroidery and beading. From flowing maxi dresses to tailored jackets, these pieces showcased the versatility of the majolica pattern while maintaining the elegance and refinement for which Valentino is known.

Woman wearing Valentino white long majolica patterned lace dress
Woman wearing Valentino majolica patterned silk jumpsuit
© Vogue

Majolica is a beautiful pattern with a rich history that continues to inspire designers and artists around the world. Its intricate designs, vibrant colors, and timeless appeal make it a versatile and captivating choice for a variety of applications, from pottery and tiles to clothing and accessories. As upscale designers continue to embrace this iconic pattern, majolica's legacy is sure to endure, bringing a touch of Italian elegance and sophistication to the world of fashion and design.


Lizzie Z.

As a top level corporate executive, Lizzie embarked on a soul-searching journey of adventure and slow living, passionately sharing her insights as the founder of RLM.



Keep Exploring

Articles we think you will enjoy reading next