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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Apron worn to de-install The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014. Photograph © Sadie Hough, 2014

Pockets of Glamour

As the last vestiges of Italian glamour are obscured by tissue and Tyvek, and packed away ready for the first venue of an American tour, I am reminded of the role that clothing plays in getting a job done. At the V&A, the periods in which exhibitions are installed and then eventually taken down are characterised by increased […]

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Moda Italiana two volumes on Glamour of Italian Fashion Research bookshelves, Research Department. Lucia Savi, 2014

La Moda Italiana and the Glamour of Italian Fashion

  Part of my job here at the V&A’s research department, besides working as a research assistant on the exhibitions “The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014” and “Shoes: pleasure and pain”; is to promote and undertake new research as well as to engage with audiences and colleagues from across the world. One of the ways of […]

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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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