Masters Of Style: The Stories Behind Italian Fashion

Masters Of Style: The Stories Behind Italian Fashion

On Thursday I attended a special bloggers preview of the Masters of Style photographic exhibition at Somerset House with Colin McDowell. He talked me through this wonderful curation celebrating Italy’s 150 years of unification. Peroni Nastro Azzurro have done a brilliant job of bringing together these truly iconic Italian fashion houses to help us look back at their wonderful contribution to the fashion industry.

Colin McDowell selected a fine range of Italian fashion houses to exhibit. Armani, Prada, Missoni, Gucci, Dolce & Gabanna and Salvatore Ferragamo all put forth their choice of imagery from their archives to help tell a story of their brand. I love the fact that the designers themselves commentated and selected their own images, it gives us a truly personal feel of these defining moments in iconic collections and campaigns.

In the evening I returned to Somerset House to attend the launch which was full of so many fabulous guests. Everyone loved the curation, and rightly so too. I’ve selected a few of the images with designer commentary, however if you can visit this exhibition first hand, then I fully recommend this. I’d love to also add my appreciation for the gorgeous pavillions designed specifically to ease you through the separate imagery of each fashion houses.

Images from the Armani section:

“In the late seventies and early eighties, I pioneered the idea of soft, unstructured and body-conscious tailoring for both men and women. It is arguably what brought me to the attention of the world as, for the first time, you could wear tailored clothes and look and feel relaxed. This image, by Aldo Fallai, is of a typical Armani menswear outfit of the time – easy, simple, sensual and modern, and not in any way outlandish or over-done from a fashion perspective. The shot itself is as casual as the outfit – like a caught moment. It suggests that men in Armani feel totally at ease and unselfconscious.”- Giorgio Armani.

Images from the Dolce & Gabbana section:

“The passion of Sicilian women: the emotion of a look, the play on lights and shadows in an artistic, black and white photograph, slight transparencies, but the rest is all left up to the imagination and to one’s feelings.”-Stefano Dolce & Domenico Gabbana

Images from the Missoni section:

“Under the guidance of Angela Missoni, the fashion that bears this company’s famous name has become much sexier both in the use of materials and in the way they are presented, as this picture by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott of Gisele demonstrates.”Colin McDowell.

Images from the Gucci section:

“One of the inspirations for the Aquariva by Gucci boat. As part of the celebrations for Gucci’s 90th year, I have worked with Riva on designing the “Aquariva by Gucci” boat. This picture was inspirational for me as I wanted the Aquariva by Gucci to celebrate the era of La Dolce Vita, when glamour and elegance defined an attitude and a lifestyle.”Frida Giannini

Images from the Ferragamo section:

“The Italian Renaissance is ever present in Italian art and fashion. This Ferragamo scarf has the intense colours and richness of the ceiling in a boric church and the ancestral flag of a noble family. Yet it still has the ability to be modern, wearable and exceedingly flattering.”Colin McDowell

Images from the Prada section:

“Glamour reflected luxury in the early years of Italian fashion – and also the early years of Miuccia Prada, as this image from Albert Watson in 1988 demonstrates. The elegantly cut, unadorned décolleté, the perfect handbag and the stylish simplicity of the table settings sum up a gracious life long gone. The woman waits for the man, who has only half drunk his glass of water, to return and enact the inevitable but subtle seduction scene over a long, elegant lunch.”Colin McDowell.

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