Once, when I was a barista in Shepherd’s Bush Empire, a rock’n roll
consumer told me French people created perfume because they didn’t wash. After
a small pause, he asked if I were French. One of the Bad Seeds, who had just played with Nick Cave, asked for a Red
Stripe and told me we can’t prevent cunts to inhabit the planet.
Nevertheless, I discreetly double checked my armpits and concluded they smelt
Didn’t we French people also create fashion
and style? Once, a Freemason in the Covent Garden temple where Film London (LFC at the time) had a party told me “You French people think you have invented
After being invited to the The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014
coffee morning at the V&A (Mea Culpa
for the late post), I realised not only that Italy were masters in terms of
style but I also admired them for achieving such change after a chaotic WWII
and a fascist intern conflict.
My interest in that exhibition is not so much
the luxury of the beautiful garments, but the way Italian people managed to
emerge quickly after the devastated war and created beauty, style and long term
quality on an international level.
Italy stepped out of its fascist label and
faced the world with a new glamour image while Rossellini’s Rome, Open City
(1945) impacted the world on a new way of film making thanks to or because no
studios wereas available... Cinecittà
was a refugee camp.
The exhibition is divided in five sections:
Return to Luxury; Tailoring; Made In Italy; Cult of the Fashion Designer;
Italian Fashion Future.
the curator of The Glamour of Italian
Fashion 1945-2014 explained that it took five year in the making with an
extraordinary research team at the V&A and an intensive work to clear
rights to use images and film clips related to the exhibition – Liz Taylor and
Audrey Hepburn were somehow ambassadors of Italian glam. An advice here: don’t
go with your high heels... it is a trek through kilometres of catwalks’
re-opened its doors to studio film making, Rossellini again shot in 1954 Journey to Italy opening an
international gate via Ingrid Bergman
and George Sanders but also exposing
places like Capri, Naples and Pompei. From early 50’s to late 60’s, the wave of
North American actors and film makers “invaded” Cinecittà for its cheap cost and glamour life (see link below for
post on The Years of La Dolce Vita
Italian fashion creators were from all parts
of Italy and all regions/places of Italy had/has its specific “trade” as
explained in the Made In Italy film: Milan with silk; Florence as the centre
for the fashion industry; Tuscany for leather etc.
The exhibition offers an extensive and
expansive display of around 100 ensembles and accessories by leading Italian
fashion houses including Simonetta, Pucci, SorelleFontana, Valentino, Gucci, Missoni, GiorgioArmani, Dolce&Gabbana, Fendi, Prada and Versace, through to the next generation of fashion talent. There is
also a tribute to fashion photographers and a re-invention of fashion
photography with Benetton’Oliviero Toscani.
The last section documents the Italian
fashion future where Italian fashion makers explain how they continue the trade
of tailor making but poses the problem of its trade being international and yet
facing a government that charges a high tax percentage on profit. For people
with a hearing deficiency, it is subtitles (in English).
Ankle boots designed by
you spell Gabbana?” Asked Andy, an
ignorant Miranda Priestly’s assistant in The
Devil Wears Prada. Andy aka Anna
Hathaway didn’t get a chance to walk around the history of Italy