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

April 16, 2014

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 other interesting places. These trips were fundamental to undertake the necessary research and to examine objects that would potentially became loans and therefore an integral part of this exhibition.

With 69 years of history to tell and the inclusion of both menswear and womenswear, every object had to be carefully selected and chosen from the prolific production of Italian fashion.

During these trips we have explored Italy’s various regions of production from the North to the South (from Como to Naples). We visited wool textile factories in the Prato region

Textile factory in Prato
We visited archives located in the middle of the woods near Varese.

Missoni Archive

And university archives hosing almost 100,000 fashion drawing located in a 14th Century Cistercian abbey.

University archives hosing almost 100,000 fashion drawing located in a 14th Century Cistercian abbey

After two years of intense research and after visiting over 30 archives located mainly in Italy, (our trips brought also to Switzerland and the USA) the exhibition has finally opened.

Gallery 39 and the North Court have been transformed by contractors that have built the newly designed backdrop  that houses 174 objects. On display are 92 mannequins, 28 fashion accessories, including shoes, bags, gloves and 1 crown. The extraordinary quality and colour of Italian fabrics is supplemented by 40 paper documents, including fashion drawings, technical textile drawings, fashion photographs as and magazines.

The exhibition under construction

The entrance to the exhibition

Each object has its own journey its own story to tell.

0 comments so far, view or add yours

Add a comment

Please read our privacy policy to understand what we do with your data.


Join today and enjoy unlimited free entry to all V&A exhibitions, Members-only previews and more

Find out more


Find inspiration in our incredible range of exclusive gifts, jewellery, books, fashion, prints & posters and much more...

Find out more