Italian fashion is to be the subject of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s next major fashion exhibition, opening in April 2014. Beginning at the end of World War II and continuing up to the present day, it will display 90 outfits from the country’s biggest names – Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Gucci – as well as designs from lesser known brands including post-war couturiers Sorelle Fontana and Mila Schön.
“Made in Italy” is a phrase synonymous with luxury and craftsmanship, and the exhibition will explore what this has meant over the decades. Hollywood and film has also played a pivotal role in the perception of Italian fashion, as the exhibition will acknowledge, with stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor becoming ambassadors for the look and fuelling the international appetite for Italian labels.
The future of Italian fashion will also be addressed in the exhibition, with filmed extracts being displayed of interviews with key players from the Milanese fashion scene.
“Over the last five years I have been working to build the V&A’s collection of contemporary Italian fashion,” said the exhibition’s curator Sonnet Stanfill. “There has never been a comprehensive overview of Italian fashion like this and it felt like a pivotal moment for the exhibition.”