Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A very glamorous affair: London’s Victoria & Albert museum celebrates the global importance of Italian fashion

London has welcomed a celebration of Italian style in the form of the exhibition The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, which the Victoria & Albert museum unveiled to the public on 5 April 2014. In spite of its conventional chronological layout, the display focuses on the paramount role that Italian designers and, rather importantly, manufacturers played on the global fashion arena from the end of World War II to the present. 

Photograph © The Style Examiner / João Paulo Nunes

Drawing upon research from the archives of Italian fashion houses, museums and private foundations, the exhibition illustrates the trats that have made Italian menswear and womenswear influential over seven decades. Starting with the industrial redevelopment of the Italian industry from 1945 onwards (thanks to the financial support from the Marshall Plan, increasing orders from North-American department stores, and endorsements by Hollywood stars) and ending in an encomiastic filmic narrative about the importance of quality ‘Made in Italy’, The Glamour of Italian Fashion reveals numerous examples of sartorial ingenuity, high-quality materials, expert textile production, and historical regional manufacturing traditions and processes.

On display are approximately 100 garments, shoes and bags designed between 1945 and 2014 by numerous Italian labels including Antonelli, Giorgio Armani, Laura Biagiotti, Bottega Venetta, Roberto Capucci, Carosa, Fiorucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Stella Jean, Krizia, Missoni, Moschino, Prada, Pucci, Mila Schön, Simonetta, Valentino, Giambattista Valli, Versace, and Ermenegildo Zegna. These pieces are displayed in a format that narrates the growing international reputation of Italian style over time, from the moment when buying agent Giovanni Battista Giorgini organised the first Italian runway show at his home in Florence in 1951 up to the second decade of the twenty-first century, when the role of the fashion designer became publicly coveted owing to his/her public status and asw Italian glamour continues to be celebrated in numerous examples of couture and tailoring on the red carpet.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 is open to the public until 27 July 2014. For more information, visit www.vam.ac.uk/italianfashion.

Photograph © The Style Examiner / João Paulo Nunes

Photograph © The Style Examiner / João Paulo Nunes

Photograph © The Style Examiner / João Paulo Nunes

Unless where otherwise specified, photographs are © Victoria and Albert Museum

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