V&A Presents: The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014

Gianfranco Ferre advert, Fall/Winter 1991. Model: Aly Dunne, Photographer: Gian Paolo Barbieri. ©GIANPAOLOBARBIERI
Gianfranco Ferre advert, Fall/Winter 1991. Model: Aly Dunne, Photographer: Gian Paolo Barbieri. ©GIANPAOLOBARBIERI

The V&A Museum is about to present an extraordinary exhibition, The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014. This major exhibition is a glamorous, comprehensive look at Italian Fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present day.

Valentino posing with models in Rome, July 1967. Courtesy of The Art Archive / Mondadori Portfolio / Marisa Rastellini.
Valentino posing with models in Rome, July 1967. Courtesy of The Art Archive / Mondadori Portfolio / Marisa Rastellini.

The story is explored through the key individuals and organizations that have contributed to its reputation for quality and style.

Evening dress of silk, designed by Roberto Capucci, 1987-1988. Courtesy Roberto Capucci Foundation. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Evening dress of silk, designed by Roberto Capucci, 1987-1988. Courtesy Roberto Capucci Foundation. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

It includes both women’s and menswear to highlight the exceptional quality of techniques, materials and expertise for which Italy has become renowned.

Man’s ensemble, Giorgio Armani, Spring/Summer 1994. Museum no. T.106:1 to 4-2011. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Man’s ensemble, Giorgio Armani, Spring/Summer 1994. Museum no. T.106:1 to 4-2011. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The exhibition examines Italy’s dramatic transition from post-war ruins to the luxury paraded in the landmark ‘Sala Bianca’ catwalk shows held in Florence in the 1950s, which propelled Italian fashion onto the world stage.

Pink palazzo pyjamas (detail), Irene Galitzine, 1963. Museum no. T.221&A-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Pink palazzo pyjamas (detail), Irene Galitzine, 1963. Museum no. T.221&A-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

During the 1950s and ’60s the many Hollywood films that were shot on location in Italy had an enormous impact on fashion as stars like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor became style ambassadors for Italian fashion, fueling a keen international appetite for luxurious clothing made in Italy.

Missoni/Fashion in Motion at the V&A, November 2003. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Missoni/Fashion in Motion at the V&A, November 2003. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

On display are around 100 ensembles and accessories by leading Italian fashion houses including Simonetta, Pucci, Sorelle Fontana, Valentino, Gucci, Missoni, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Prada and Versace, through to the next generation of fashion talent.

Ankle boots, black leather stiletto heels with gold, white and pink embroidery, designed by Dolce & Gabbana, Spring/Summer 2001. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Ankle boots, black leather stiletto heels with gold, white and pink embroidery, designed by Dolce & Gabbana, Spring/Summer 2001. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The exhibition is on view starting April 5th – July 27th 2014. www.vam.ac.uk

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