Midnight in Venice and the origins of the union between the lagoon and fashion

When fashion shows
took place in Venice


I have always maintained that Venice is the city that best suits to act as background for fashion. As soon as spring begins, have you ever tried to count how many photographic services you can see along its calli (streets)? However big events of the fashion industry do not seem to hold it into due consideration.

Today is the last day to visit an exhibition that tells, through original images and movies, the origins of the union between fashion and the lagoon. “C’era un tempo in cui Venezia e la moda andavano ‘a braccetto’, ma è una storia ormai dimenticata o forse ignorata dai più [There was a time when Venice and fashion were ‘ hand in hand’, but it is a forgotten history or perhaps ignored by most],” says the first introductory caption.

Yesterday, entering the exhibition halls entirely in black and white, I had the impression of living (in a different geographic setting) one of my favorite movies: Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. For a few hours I was transported in the twenties and forties of a Venice populated by stars, catwalks and social events, for which the Lido was the real protagonist, thanks to the initiatives promoted by the Biennale of Art. A small sitting area has been set up in front of the projection of a fashion-show of the time; when the reporter begins to describe the clothes worn by the models “here in Venice the eyes do not miss anything ” ( referring to the beauty of fabrics, finishes and brilliance of the decorations) is really like to be present at the event.

Then I crossed the beginning of the fifties, discovering that the Centro Italiano della Moda (founded in 1949 in Milan) chose Venice, and the Excelsior hotel and the Palazzo del Cinema in particular, to give life to a series of events to tell the meeting between textile industry and fashion. While in 1951 it was founded in Venice, at Palazzo Grassi, the Centro Internazionale delle Arti e del Costume, that created performances mixing together art, theater, cinema and fashion.

The latest rooms are devoted to Mariano Fortuny‘s dress called Delphos, Roberta di Camerino’s bags and a final parade of clothes and photographs of stars, actresses and personalities linked to the memory of sumptuous carnival celebrations, social events or photo shoots: Sophia Loren , Brigitte Bardot, Franco Marinotti and Countess Foscari, … the colors of the original dresses shown take me back to reality and I understand that the journey through the ages had ended.

Like Gill (played by Owen Wilson) the following day, I begin to wonder if it was only a dream, but then I look at my desk and I see the reassuring postcards taken yesterday at the exhibition.

le cartoline della mostra sulla mia scrivania


Exhibition details


Title: Venezia è sempre di Moda
Fashion in laguna dal 1920 al 1970

edited by Elisabetta Da Lio
with the help of Eleonora Ceriani and the precious suggestions of Mariateresa Crisigiovanni, Daniela Ferretti and Chiara Squarcina
with the support of Tiziano Bolpin, Carlo Montanaro e Vittorio Pavan
special thanks to Maria Luisa Frisa

Location: Comune di Venezia – Centro Culturale Candiani and Archivio della Comunicazione
Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia – Museo Fortuny and Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo – Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto e del Costume
Archivio Carlo Montanaro
Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche Venezia
In collaboration with Archivio Storico di Istituto Luce Cinecittà
March 11th-April 30th 2016



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