Torino. A century of fashion
The Viora company
The history of Viora company dates back to ‘800, the great-grandmother, Margaret, left for Paris. The family business that has been working in the Turin fashion circuit until 1978.
I entered the Viora family company as a young newlywed. It was specialized in processed feathers and artificial flowers. At the beginning, I kept the records of the 22 employees. Things came from themselves: I learned how to dye feathers and flowers and to work on them. The workshop in via Po 5 was made of 8 beautiful lounges, of 8 and a half meters in height. It was so cold in the Winter months! All the workers had a warmer under the apron. Near the window, there were the most experienced ones, and on the other side of the table the young ones, because the apprenticeship lasted 5 or 6 years. To produce a flower, you started from silk, which they bought in Como. We cut the petals, using real flowers as models, then we dyed them and put them together. We used some molds to cut them and others, carved, to imprint ribs. The petals were bent one by one by the boules, irons heated on a gas stove, and fitted with stamens bought in Paris. Exotic feather were bought in London, instead, like ostrich’s for boas, but simple hen, rooster and pheasant’s feathers were used as well. You just had to know how to dye them, then work with a lot of patience. - Ada Viora
Lupotto and Calosso Milliners
Romilda Calosso began her sartorial apprenticeship in 1929, aged 14, in the Chiappino fashion house, where Irma Lupotto was a first modiste. They woud later open a milliner's shop together in via dei Mercanti, later transferred to the elegant via Pietro Micca at the culmination of their success.
I started working with a milliner when I was 12: I tied up, delivered products and sewed labels. I entered Gina Faloppa’s workshop as a worker and soon I became the prèmiere. We began shaping the coated iron wire frame, and on it we shaped the spaltrì, a sheet of woven straw. Then it was hardened with the spart cement and became the framework on which we created hats of different fabrics and colors. In the workshop, milliners’ hands were fast. The workers sat around a long rectangular table. Each of them had a small, stuffed plank, covered in white canvas on their knees, on which they placed the hat to work on it, while on the table there were the irons, the boules on which we gave fabrics a rounded shape, scissors, pliers, boxes of pins and glue. Needles were always pinned on a white apron. There was a good smell in the air, the smell of new fabrics and tenaccio, the glue used to sew. And there was excitement, especially when we prepared a new collection and chose news colors and materials - Angela Rosmino
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