Italian Fashion from 1945
Last Friday I was lucky enough to attend the V&A’s The Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition.
The first thing that struck me was not only the breath-taking dresses, but the beautiful rooms nestled under sweeping, white canopies. The up-lights perfectly set off the detailing in each outfit, and subtle music created a private space to lose yourself in. It’s easy to get lost in another time here, but the serious note of the exhibition brings a sombre respect to every beautiful garment.
Illustrated by a black and white photograph of a bombed Florence in 1946, the reality of an economically struggling country shines through. This exhibition is not only a beautiful space to showcase all the very best in glamorous Italian fashion, but it takes us through Italy’s journey from 1945 to the present day. Like most countries, Italy was looking for a way to revitalise their post-war country. The emergence of Hollywood discovered Italy was a beautiful setting, bringing with it the glamorous and chic. Vying for position with Paris, Italian fashion took on sharp, ready-to-wear glamour; transforming everyday garments with an infusion of chic, glamour and exquisite couture.
The exhibition features gorgeous photos of the items being worn by iconic names, from Audrey Hepburn to Maria Callas. These photos bring each item to life, leaving them looking a little listless on the dummies. But the exhibition such as it is, allows you to absorb every detail of the outfit bringing them to life once again.
The exhibit includes fifties ball gowns, cocktail dresses, two-piece outfits, accessories and accompanying film. Some of the shoes displayed really do demand your time, whether you’re captured by the Dolce & Gabbana crystal ankle boots, or Prada’s magnificently coloured heels – you won’t be able to escape their allure.
May 27th 2014