|Valentino posing among his models nearby Trevi Fountain. Rome, July 1967|
Whilst Winter creeps upon us, it's good to look forward to the Spring. In April next year, the glamour and style synonymous with Italy is being celebrated at the V&A and it's going to be a show-stopper of an exhibition.
‘Made in Italy’ has become a global codeword for a representation of style and quality, conveying Italy’s position at the forefront of international trends. It’s not just Italy’s synonymic designers such as Versace, Gucci and Armani influencing the designers of tomorrow. Thanks to the online exposure that now surrounds fashion week, fashion editors Anna Dello Russo and Giovanna Battaglia have become today’s style icons and two of Italy’s best fashion exports, likened to a contemporary Anna Piaggi. By the way, if you're not following Anna on Instagram, I suggest you do so NOW. Her outfits are inspirational!
In honour of this fashion movement, the V&A will host the first major exhibition, The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, to examine the country’s contribution to fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present. More than 100 ensembles by leading fashion houses including Armani, Gucci, Missoni, Prada, Pucci, Valentino and Versace, from the early catwalk shows held in Florence through to the next generation of talent including couture by Giambattista Valli and Valentino’s new designer duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, will be showcased in the museum.
When it comes to sartorial self expression, nobody does it better or more naturally than the Italians, but the exhibition also highlights the influence of Italian cinema - War and Peace, La Dolce Vita and Roman Holiday among others once earned Rome the nickname of “Hollywood on the Tiber”. Audrey Hepburn, who won the 1953 Best Actress Oscar for her role in Roman Holiday, became not just a major Hollywood star but also a living icon for the Eternal City. Her love affair with the Italian capital is captured in the exhibition, alongside the influence of the many Hollywood films shot on location during the 1950s and 1960s.
If the V&A’s run of previous exhibitions is anything to go by, I’d recommend booking a ticket early at vam.ac.uk/italianfashion.
The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, sponsored by Bulgari, runs from 5 April - 27 July 2014 at the V&A.