Across Art and Fashion exhibit opens across Florence

26th May, 2016
The Tuscan city of Florence has long been regarded as a world centre for culture and art, and this is set to be emphasised even further thanks to a new exhibit being held across Florence.

The city-wide exhibit, Across Art and Fashion, examines the relationship between the two forms of expression, and was opened Thursday at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, with other elements of the exhibit also being shown across four other venues in the city.

With each exhibit complimenting the others, together the end product comprehensively examines the relationship between art and fashion, widely recognised as two of Italy’s most significant cultural contributions.

The exhibit takes visitors back to the time of the Renaissance in the 15th century, when the two forms of art and fashion were much less separate than they are today. According to Stefania Ricci, director of the Ferragamo Museum, “there was no difference between artisan and artist.” This was shown in examples where people we today know as artists, such as Raphael, also created fashion items, such as hand fans, and textile designs.

She added: “Then slowly the two worlds separated, because fashion was functional, the reality. Art became always more conceptual. But what is interesting is they always kept an eye one on the other.”

Fast forward to the 1800s, and you can see that the influence also worked the other way; fashion was also inspiring artists. Shown at the Ferragamo Museum as well as the Modern Art Gallery of Pitti Palace especially, many paintings and artworks reflected the fashions of the time. According to Ricci, featuring the fashion of the day helped artists to convey modernity in their works. This has been emphasised in the exhibits by pairing the artworks with similar, or sometimes even identical, items of clothing from the period.

The exhibit also showcases fashion from more than a dozen Italian brands who, over the centuries, have made Italy the leading location for all things fashion. Among the items on show include a Schiaparelli skirt suit with buttons made by Alberto Giacometti, and a 1922 Vionnet silken tunic dress, on loan from the Louvre for a limited time only.

As well as at the Ferragamo Museum and the Modern Art Gallery, the exhibit will also take place in the National Central Library and the Marino Marini Museum in Florence, as well as at the Textile Museum in nearby Prato; all easily reached from our Florence villas. After over a year in the making, the exhibit seeks to highlight the important relationship between art and fashion that has been so important to the city’s livelihood and legacy for hundreds of years.

Image: sailko, available under Creative Commons