Palazzo Madama: Fashion highlights

Palazzo Madama

Explore the wonderful collection in the heart of Turin

Textiles collection
Palazzo Madama textiles and fashion collection boasts more than 350 items: gowns, hats, bags, gloves, neckbands and lace shawls. In applied arts collections there are also painted paper fans, leather or fabric footwear, ivory and tortoise shell hair combs, metal buckles and buttons, labels for beauty products, miniature and canvas portraits, accessories and essential documents to study clothing and fashion. 
Collars, hems, handkerchiefs, geometric and light, or full, rich, magniloquent. From the sixteenth century, lace’s patterns and texture vary, following the change of taste, clothing and use. At first, they sought for transparency, new in comparison with embroidery decoration, with curved lines, developed the third dimension with relief points. In the XVIII century, we see a growing naturalism and imagination in design, the refined combinations of endless variety of underlying networks and fillers, thick and thin wires.

L'opera è datata al 1640-50. A quegli anni rimandano anche i confronti con i libri di modelli degli stessi anni, particolare il Libro di diversi disegni di Bartolomeo Danieli (Bologna 1630). Guarda i disegni nelle collezioni del Metropolitan Museum

Ladies in the XVIIth Century
In the mid-seventeenth century, the "robe à la français" was the most common dress model for the European aristocracy and the rich bourgeoisie. Worn on top of corsets with buques, it could be composed of vaporous skirts and corset; It was open at the front to show the rich skirts, and often ended with bibs, richly decorated with ribbons, bows, jewels and precious applications. 

The definition of the gown was introduced in fashion around 1704. The comedy Andrienne, by Baron, was performed in Paris that year and the actress Therèse Dancourt wore a very successful dress. Since that moment, the garment acquired that name.

The dress is made of brocade fabric and silver-spun bobbin lace.

The dress is made of Gros de Tour of liseré silk. The Gros de Tours is a ribbed fabric, named after the city where the production was the strongest.

The simplicity of the corset and the quality of the embroidery suggest it was a domestic garment, a négligé for a well-off woman.

The XVIIIth century bustiers and corsets compress the female torso in an unnatural way, pushing up the breasts, left uncovered by wide necklines. The Marquise Marie-Louise de Galliffet wore this corset at the court of Louis XVI, in Versailles.

Corsetti e pettorine, riccamente decorati, erano parte del lavoro della modista. Mentre la sarta tagliava le stoffe pregiate e predisponeva il modello, alla modista spettava il compito di occuparsi delle "garnitures"

Men fashion
During the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries, the "doublet" continued to be the base of male wardrobe. Over time, it became less bulky; the layers, once wide and flared, became tighter and slipped backwards; the bottons disappeared, or were attached on the breats as a decoration, not to be tied. Over time, however, the shapes were simplified, and in 1750, Lord Chesterfield wrote to his son, newly arrived in Paris: "I hope you dress well, or according to the common sense of good society, which means that you shouldn’t be noticed for excesses or flaws, as a gentleman should stand for elegance, not for the glitz "

The fabric is embroidered with Savoy knots, alternating with roses: they are symbols of the House of Savoy, and attest the doublet is original from the ducal court of Turin.

Men's fashion between the XVIIth and XVIIIth century is often focused on the details, which were used to emphasize differences in social classes and in everyday contexts.

"To be elegant, one should not be noticed. You need to banish scents and violent colors, searching for neutral or cool harmonies, enhancing the accessory, because it determines the overall apparel harmony." George Brummel (London, June 7 1778 - Caen, 30 March 1840)

In XVIII century, buttons became a fundamental accessory for men’s clothing. They were often richly adorned with paintings, marquetries, embossed, gilded and – when it comes to tha rare bottons “à la buffon” – they were decorated with small insects and plants put under glass.

On the domestic side, the gentlemen wore precious, comfortable garments, and skullcaps, continental cocked hats or turbans.

Nineteenth and Twentieth century
With the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, we see the affirmation of the “Empire style” in Europe. For women's clothing, it is a neoclassical revival, inspired by the Greek and Roman dresses depicted in archaeological findings of the time, which also echoed in jewelry. At the dawn of the new century, after the drama of World War I, it the style of a woman determined change in fashion: her name was Coco Chanel. "A world was at its end, another one was rising… It took simplicity, comfort and clarity. I offered it all of this” 

“I shall want two new coloured gowns for the summer […]. I shall not trouble you, however, to get more than one of them, and that is to be a plain brown cambric muslin, for morning wear; the other, which is to be a very pretty yellow and white cloud, I mean to buy in Bath” Letter of Jane Austen, January 25th, 1801

Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.
(Coco Chanel)

Credits: Story

Cura della mostra:
Maria Paola Ruffino, Curatore per le arti decorative, Palazzo Madama
Coordinamento: Carlotta Margarone, Responsabile Comunicazione, Fondazione Torino Musei
Inserimento: Valentina Lo Faro e Francesca Papasergi
Traduzioni: Alessandro Malusà

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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