The Glamour of Italian Fashion

The next must-see fashion retrospective to hit the V & A is ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion”, which is showing as the spring exhibition in April.


Capturing the exciting, influential period post world war two, it is the first major show to dissect Italy’s rich and varied design and cultural history from the past 75 years, with a carefully edited selection of original mens and womenswear garments on display.


When you think of old school glamour, I bet Elizabeth Taylor is pretty high up on your list; And as you would expect, she is a big influence for the Italian fashion industry, and much is referenced at the show. Everything from her fabulous ball gowns to her vast collection of bling- including the Bulgari diamond and emerald jewellery, which Richard Burton gave her as a wedding present (after all, it is a Bulgari sponsored show!)


The infamous “Sala Bianca” is also celebrated, as the first of it’s kind fashion shows staged in the Sala Bianca in Palazzo Pitti, Florence. Originating in the 50s, the innovative runway show were a way for real models to showcase designers and tailoring to a wider audience, and marked the beginning of Italian designers international success.


With original designs from some of Italy’s most well known and loved names such as Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Missoni, Prada, Pucci, Valentino and Versace, the show also exhibits current designers, popular on the Milan fashion week circuit, alongside the next generation of talent including couture by Giambattista Valli, ready-to-wear from Fausto Puglisi and work from Valentino’s new designer duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli.


With Italy to this day, leading the way as an aspirational, luxurious and quality led design hub, the exhibition breaks down 75 years of history into bite-size segments, 100 original garments and snippets of information, including the fact that when Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, she was buried in a her favourite Pucci dress. And if that’s not pure glam, I don’t know what is!


Dig out your best frock, and get inspired…


The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, sponsored by Bulgari, runs from 5 April – 27 July 2014 at the V&A.


By Sara Darling


Gianfranco_Ferre_advert_1991_jpg_610x610_q85 Evening_dress_of_silk_designed_by_Roberto_Capucci_1987-1988_jpg_180x180_crop_q85 Elizabeth_Taylor_wears_Bulgari_jewellery_jpg_180x180_crop_q85 Ankle_boots_designed_by_DG_jpg_180x180_crop_q85