30 July 2016 | 22 °C

The Glamour Of Italian Fashion On Show At The V&A

The Glamour Of Italian Fashion On Show At The V&A
Ankle boots, black leather stiletto heels with gold, white and pink embroidery by Dolce & Gabbana, 2000. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Ankle boots, black leather stiletto heels with gold, white and pink embroidery by Dolce & Gabbana, 2000. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
British-born US actress Elizabeth Taylor attends a reception in Venice on September 20, 1967.   AFP PHOTO

 - dida: Elizabeth Taylor at the masked ball in Hotel Caí Rezzonico, Venice 1967, wears her necklace and earrings in platinum with emeralds and diamonds
Elizabeth Taylor wears Bulgari jewellery at the masked ball, Hotel Ca' Rezzonico, Venice, 1967.
Evening dress of embroidered net and matelasse coat by Mila Schön, 1966. Courtesy Maison Mila Schön. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Evening dress of embroidered net and matelasse coat by Mila Schön, 1966. Courtesy Maison Mila Schön. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Evening dress of silk by Roberto Capucci, 1987-1988. Courtesy Roberto Capucci Foundation. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Evening dress of silk by Roberto Capucci, 1987-1988. Courtesy Roberto Capucci Foundation. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Fashion Show in Sala Bianca Pitti Palace florence, 1955
Fashion show in Sala Bianca. Archivio Giorgini, 1955. Photo by G.M. Fadigati, © Giorgini Archive, Florence.
The Italian stylist Valentino posing among his models nearby Trevi Fountain. Rome, July 1967 | Photo Credit: [ The Art Archive / Mondadori Portfolio / Marisa Rastellini  ]
Valentino posing with models nearby Trevi Fountain. Rome, July 1967. Courtesy of The Art Archive / Mondadori Portfolio / Marisa Rastellini.

Can fashion be considered as an artistic expression, a form of art? Is there something more behind fashion than just 'create things to wear'? Yes, there is. And even if you're not completely sure about that, you might change your mind after seeing The Glamour of Italian Fashion on show at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The exhibition reconstructs the history and development of Italian fashion throughout the years, from the Second World War to the present day. Starting from the austerity of fashion during the Fascist era, we then travel through time with specifically historically-reconstructed rooms that display the change in fashion trends, divided into decades. The connections with Hollywood's film industry during the 60s, Milan becoming the fashion capital and the new figure of the stilista raised in the 70s, the groovy 80s that saw ready-to-wear fashion, culminating in examples of today's most acclaimed Italian fashion designers.

The two first rooms are particularly impressive, which display some of the most extraordinary fashion samples: the first room is dedicated to Giovanni Battista Giorgini's Sala Bianca fashion shows, which started in the 1950s and were a real breakthrough in terms of international visibility and acknowledgement of Italian fashion as a high skilled industry. The second room displays the connection between Italian fashion and the USA: there are some unique items from Hollywood stars and celebrities, including a dress worn by Audrey Hepburn and a suit that belonged to John F. Kennedy.

Even though the exhibition focuses on haute couture fashion, it has a deep historical focus: you will understand the influence of the 1948 Marshall Plan on the recovery of Italy's fashion industry and how much historical events influenced the world of Italian fashion. Discover more behind the celebration of big names such as Sorelle Fontana, Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Emilio Pucci, Dolce & Gabbana and so on — you will find true artistic inspiration and an unseen part of Italian history.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, sponsored by Bulgari, is on show at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL until 27 July 2014 (nearest tube station: South Kensington). Tickets are £12 for adults, £10 for concessions and £8 for full-time students. For more information click here.  

For more exhibitions to see in London this month, check out our April art events listing.