The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has just opened a new exhibit detailing the growth of the Italian fashion industry over the past seven decades.
The exhibit, entitled “Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945” explains how Italy came to be a leader in the fashion world from the end of World War II to the present. In the 1940s there was no real fashion industry, but today Italian fashion houses are known around the world. The show includes 100 ensembles and accessories from a variety of top designers, including Gucci, Prada, Versace, Valentino, Armani, Fendi, Pucci, Missoni, and Dolce & Gabbana.
Hollywood played a major role in the growing popularity of Italian designers. Some American movie producers chose to film in Italy because of the lower costs and good weather. Many films were shot in Italy starting in the1950s. The show includes pieces that were owned by celebrities or worn in famous films. For example, the MIA has a costume worn by Audrey Hepburn in “War and Peace.”
The exhibit also includes photos of celebrities wearing Italian fashions and accessories and carrying luxury handbags. Top Italian fashion designers would sometimes arrange to have paparazzi take pictures of celebrities shopping in Italy as a way to promote their brands to an international audience.
The collection also includes fashions worn by public figures, such as a suit that once belonged to John F. Kennedy.
The traveling exhibit was organized by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibit’s organizers want to give visitors a concrete way to feel connected to famous people.
“Italian Style” is the first major fashion show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the first venue for the exhibit in the United States. The show will run through January 4, 2015.
Fashion exhibits have become more popular at art museums in recent years. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted an Alexander McQueen exhibit entitled “Savage Beauty” a few years ago that drew over 600,000 visitors.