Inside the exhibition 'Across art and Fashion' and Salvatore Ferragamo's artistic collaborations
‘Pisanello’ court cape
The cape inspired by Pisanello, on generous loan from Palazzo Pitti’s Costume Gallery, is displayed alongside contemporary clothing inspired by other famous work of art in a room wall-papered with an article penned by Sergio Tofano, which appeared in Lidel in 1920, where the renowned illustrator imagined Italian clothing made in the style of Beato Angelico’s and Masaccio’s frescoes.
The video of the Florence Art and Fashion Biennale in 1996, directed by GermanoCelant, Ingrid Sischy and Luigi Settembrini, serves as a sounding board for this idea. Involving 40 international names in the arts and 38 in fashion, this film explored and revealed how they influenced one another, the creative relationship between fashion and the visual arts, design, architecture, film, photography, clothing and history, drawing the public’s attention to this theme.
Rosa Genoni, ‘Pisanello’ court cape, 1906, silk velvet with embroidery and lace appliqués, metal thread fringe, cylindrical and round beads. Florence, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Galleria del Costume di Palazzo Pitti.
ACROSS FASHION AND ART
Museo Salvatore Ferragamo
The exhibition itinerary focuses on the work of Salvatore Ferragamo, who was fascinated and inspired by the avant-garde art movements of the 20th century, on several ateliers of the Fifties and Sixties that were venues for studies and encounters, and on the advent of the culture of celebrities. It then examines the experimentation of the Nineties and goes on to ponder whether in the contemporary cultural industry we can still talk about two separate worlds or if we are instead dealing with a fluid interplay of roles.
The distinctive aspect of the exhibition layout lies in the collaboration with other cultural institutions, which took an active part in implementing this concept with the aim of inspiring joint reflection: in addition to the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, promotor and organizer of the project together with the Fondazione Ferragamo, in Florence the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, the Gallerie degli Uffizi (the Galleria d’arte moderna di Palazzo Pitti and the Galleria del Costume), the Museo Marino Marini, and in Prato the Museo del Tessuto.
A series of examples is provided in this section to show visitors this interaction, which has now been taking place for over a century.
It begins with the English Pre-Raphaelites and continues with the Viennese Secession of Gustav Klimt and Wiener Werkstätte, followed by Mariano Fortuny, without overlooking the experimental work of the Futurists.
The section next explores the work of fashion-making artists like Sonia Delaunay and collaborative projects directly between artists and fashion designers, like Thayaht with Vionnet and Dalì and Cocteau with Schiaparelli, through to more recent collaboration. Specific attention is paid to the designers who, inspired by art, revolutionised fashion, such as Yves Saint Laurent with Mondrian.
This theme is analysed from various standpoints: the artists who created alternatives to current trends and those who collaborated with the fashion industry; fashion designers who sought out artists’ creativity and shared the avant-garde ideas they found to be the most original, but above all found inspiration in artwork of all ages for shapes and surfaces.
With his presence on New York’s cultural scene, attending parties, opening nights, retrospectives and fashion shows, he helped shape the relationship between art, fashion and celebrities that we recognise today. This concept is explored in a series of photographs showing Warhol at various New York social events and with the Makos Studio’s famous installation Altered Image.
There is no doubt that with his work, Andy Warhol unleashed high-impact - and frequently sacrilegious - aesthetic input, the most blatant example being The Souper Dress, a distillation of fashion, art and industry. Made in the Sixties out of paper, cellulose and cotton, with a silk-screen print of the famous Campbell soup can label repeating sequentially, this dress is on display as part of the exhibition.
A sign of the new and dynamic modernity
In the mid-19th century portraiture became the pictorial genre destined to introduce the new principle of truth into art, turning to character studies and the meticulous depiction of clothing and the surroundings, in keeping with the style of the naturalist novel.In the second half of the 19th century, figurative art, along with the nascent field of photography, recorded cross-sections of reality corresponding to aesthetics increasingly aimed at capturing the observed subject in order to offer a true rendering. Artists viewed fashion as the sign of the new and dynamic modernity, and in their art works they emphasized details and accessories that acquire the mysterious power of symbol.
The fashion of the period became endowed with an unprecedented professional structure (haute couture) that became the point of reference for a socially composite public of female consumers.With their art, painters such as Giovanni Boldini contributed to the growth of this phenomenon, striving to make the display of elegance and social optimism of the era as realistic as possible, in keeping with the effervescent climate of the Belle Époque and the aspirations of the middle class, which yearned for an International stage.
The IX to XI Triennale events in the Fifties served as crucial testing ground for artists and designers: Lucio Fontana, Bruno Munari, Roberto Crippa, Piero Dorazio, Gianni Dova, Fede Cheti, Fausto Melotti, Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass participated in the competitions that textile companies organised, presenting their designs – patterns for fabric prints – in a variety of colour schemes for clothing and upholstery in the modern home.
Cultural events and initiatives like Carlo Cardazzo’s at Galleria del Cavallino in Venice, with special edition silk scarves designed by artists – wearable works of art – and tapestries – works of art for the home – bear witness to the mentality of applying aesthetics to daily life.
In this section, the scarves of Edmondo Bacci, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Massimo Campigli, Roberto Crippa, Lucio Fontana, Bruno Saetti, Franco Gentilini, Emilio Scanavino and Marino Marini interact with the tapestries of Alfredo Chighine, Enrico Bordoni, Atanasio Soldati, Silvano Bozzolini and Guido Marussig, textile art that reflects the concept of Total Art embraced in those years.
While art galleries and auction houses paid more and more attention to the phenomenon, major fashion designers created spaces specifically devoted to art exhibitions and funded shows and artwork around the world, contributing to their growing fame.
In turn, artists have collaborated with fashion for the most varied and complex reasons: from simple financial considerations to the desire for popularity, from personal relations to curiosity, and from the grand project of a total work of art to a revolutionary utopia.
Salvatore Ferragamo and Art
Salvatore Ferragamo represents an example of the collaboration between art and fashion, which is the consequence of a practice launched by the company founder in the Thirties.The themes of tradition, drawn from the brand’s history, stimulate reflection on contemporaneity, moving beyond fields strictly related to fashion.
Since 1996, when the fashion house supported the first Florence Biennale, “Il Tempo e la Moda”, curated by Germano Celant, Ingrid Sischy and Luigi Settembrini, and hosted a retrospective exhibition on Bruce Weber at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, which had just been inaugurated, the relationship with the art world has intensified. It got artists involved in communication projects, limited-edition pieces and works of art created especially for exhibitions and special events.
Exhibition project at several venues curated by Stefania Ricci
Promoted and organized by Fondazione Ferragamo Museo Salvatore Ferragamo
In collaboration with
Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Firenze
Gallerie degli Uffi zi, Galleria d’arte moderna e Galleria del Costume di Palazzo Pitti
Museo del Tessuto Prato
Museo Marino Marini Florence
with the fundamental support by
Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali
e del Turismo
Soprintendenza Belle Arti e Paesaggio per
le Province di Firenze, Pistoia e Prato
with the participation of
Fondazione Massimo e Sonia Cirulli, Bologna
with the contribution of
Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana
with the patronage of
Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali
e del Turismo
Comune di Firenze