Italian Fashion at the V&A (yes, it’s glamorous)

As a gift (don’t ask), I purchased tickets for The Glamour of Italian Fashion, a lovely retrospective at the V&A, narrating the history of the people and companies responsible for those well dressed Italians from 1945 to 2014.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014 is a comprehensive look at Italian fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present day. The story is explored through the key individuals and organisations that have contributed to Italy’s reputation for quality and style.

We had the 15.00 slot on a Saturday – which is excellent if you had lunch before. Which we hadn’t. Obviously. We did manage to have an amazing early dinner – Italian, in keeping with the spirit of the day, but more of that on another post.

Anyway, one of the reasons I really wanted to go was La Grande Bellezza, the amazing 2013 Sorrentino film. If you watch it for no other reason then do so for the clothes and the way everyone in this film seems to strut down the streets of Rome or just lounge with a glass of vino on a terrace somewhere, or wake up with a horrible hangover, at all times looking like a million bucks. I mean, come on!

Alternatively you can just observe the Italians going around London in a beige raincoat, brown handmade leather shoes and huge sunglasses (I hope I am allowed to use the stereotype as the Greeks dress similarly, even though never as tastefully as the Italians).

Both the film and the Italian Londoners are your instant inspiration to go to The Glamour of Italian Fashion.

In terms of size it was just right – we managed to get out of there having seen everything and without having to gnaw a random visitor’s fingers out of hunger. There were some simply amazing pieces, showing the evolution of the Italian fashion industry and how each craft contributed to the development of a vibrant sector.

You will not just find some great dresses (even though they are there too), you will also find little stories of well dressed Italians and their dressmakers, stories of patterns and colours, the beginnings of some now very big names as well as connections with Italian film and (no escaping those) politics. The little film where the Italian bureaucracy and administrative burden are discussed shows quite recognisable problems to a Greek. Great lesson for British entrepreneurs too methinks – the UK (in comparison) is a bloody field of roses when you are trying to start something up compared to some other countries.

Personally, I loved the outlandish pieces made for various zillionaire’s balls and other such everyday occasions. I mean, come on, we can’t afford all that stuff either way, we might as well admire the most expensive and outrageous creations.

Definitely worth a visit – but do expect *nudge nudge wink wink* moments from whatever partner is most into designer stuff about future Christmas presents.

Disclosure: Went to The Glamour of Italian Fashion on 12 April 2014 and paid for our tickets. No prior discussion with the museum took place.

At the V&A, until 27 July 2014. Check out their Visitor & Ticket information page. 


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