Photo Courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Italian Style at MIA
From the “catwalk” fashion shows to the sartorial seduction of Hollywood stars who would become ambassadors for Italian fashion, Italian Style offers an opportunity to join Audrey Hepburn on a “Roman holiday” and vicariously experience a little bit of la dolce vita.
Italy’s rapid reinvention as world fashion capital in the wake of the devastation of World War II—from ruins to the runway shows of the 1950s—was made possible by a convergence of factors that now seem inevitable. But it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Prada, Armani, and Versace would become household names among followers of fashion. Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945, which opens this month at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, traces the evolution of Italian fashion into a global brand.
“The exhibition shows how this image was forged and the means of production were put together over several decades,” says assistant curator of textiles Nicole LeBouff. It finds its roots in Italian craftsmanship and tailoring, but the postwar fashion industry introduced a new chapter animated by movie stars, luxury labels, and the resurgence of Italian craftsmanship.
The exhibition features about 100 ensembles and accessories from the Victoria and Albert Museum and international lenders once donned by midcentury fashion icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Maria Callas. While it might be tempting to stay firmly ensconced in the past reveling in the couture artifacts on display, the present and future offer their own compelling narrative.
Italian Style highlights a new generation of designers—Giambattista Valli, Fausto Puglisi, and design duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli—who are navigating a very different but just as challenging set of forces as their forebears: globalization. Opens Oct. 26.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 612-870-3000, artsmia.org