The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014

If you have ever wondered what it takes to put on a major exhibition, this blog will take you behind the scenes as the V&A prepares for the opening of The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014. Read about curatorial aspects, conservation issues and the scope of exhibition planning.

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Tiny holes reveal where the paper pattern has been drawn over with a tracing wheel. In the centre of the middle circle there is a wide “H” shape, this is the buttonhole placement mark.

An Italian jigsaw

The Glamour of Italian Fashion demonstrates the amazing scope of work created by a variety of designers over several decades. One of the very special parts of this exhibition is the opportunity to see some of the “behind the scenes” workings of the fashion houses – print samples, fashion sketches and videos all give an […]

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Marni box, with ‘MARNI’ label

To Keep or not to Keep

As the Research Department Administrator it is not often that I get the opportunity to delve into the depths of the V&A stores but I recently had the chance to do just that in the old Textiles and Fashion stores. Lucia Savi and Luisa Coscarelli, the Research Assistant and Intern on the Glamour of Italian […]

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Driving in (Italian) Style

‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014’ exhibition does not only present beautiful Italian ready-to-wear and couture fashion designs and accessories, but also includes a staple of Italian vehicle design – the Vespa. This mint-green two-wheeler is featured in the room entitled ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’, presenting the spectacular outfits of the 50s and 60s, which […]

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Revealed: Creating undergarments for a Gucci dress

The Peek-a-Boo evening dress, so called because of its revealing cut out feature and provocatively low neckline, was designed by Tom Ford for Gucci’s Autumn/Winter 2004/5 collection, Ford’s last collection for Gucci. The dress is made of white silk jersey and gathers the plunging neckline with the help of a round ornament with two dragon’s […]

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Well Heeled: Consolidating and stabilising a shoe sole

This shoe (T.143-1983) was made by Magli in cream patent leather with a polyurethane (ester) heel. The sole of the heel had become brittle and had broken into pieces. A tracing of the shape of the sole was taken to help fit the pieces together. Luckily most of the sole remained! A strong adhesive was […]

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Ratti pitch sheet

This large sheet of paper, 1.5 m long, is called a pitch sheet. Pitch sheets – or carta prova as they are called in Italian – are a medium of communication between the textile designer and textile manufacturer. The sheet will show the full repeat of a textile design and capture all the colours that […]

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How many miles a curator must walk down … The Making of Italian Fashion

The title of The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014 suggests a wide scope in terms of chronology as well as geographical location. The curator of the exhibition Sonnet Stanfill and I travelled frequently to Italy and beyond to conduct research in national museums, private archives, designer archives, theatre collections, textile factories, and many […]

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One size does not fit all

Every ensemble in a V&A fashion exhibition is carefully mounted by our team of in house Textile Conservators and expert Costume Mounters. The V&A mainly uses stockman/dress figures or fibre glass mannequins to display its fashion collections. Stockman figures are what you might picture when thinking of a dressmaker, a torso form covered with material […]

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All that glitters may well be golden

With the thrill of Christmas presents now a distant memory, it was with some additional excitement that we received this delivery from Dolce and Gabbana. The Italian designers have kindly donated an ensemble from their Ready to Wear Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, a bejewelled tunic dress, crown and golden shoes. The V&A sometimes acquires objects for […]

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A Special Delivery

Museums like to shop too! These classic Italian driving moccasins arrived into the museum last week in this immaculate packaging. The V&A purchased the vibrant pair online, and like any other shopper we took our time selecting the most appealing shade and size. For many people the classic driving moccasin is synonymous with the Italian […]

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