Villa Reale, a landmark in the town of Monza, 15 km northeast of Milan, opened up to the public during this Fall’s Fashion Week with a beautiful exhibition named “Bellissima, l’Italia dell’Alta Moda 1945-1968”; showcasing precious public and private collections of clothes and accessories, the exhibition is planned to run until January 10th, 2016. Curated by Maria Luisa Frisa, Anna Mattirolo and Stefano Tonchi and set up by Migliore+Servetto Architects, this is a majestic travel through the years that shaped the identity of contemporary Italian style, namely the post-war period up to 1968.
At the entrance of the exhibition (held on the second floor of the Villa), a beautiful gallery of old photographs lures visitors into the fashion trends of the period. A central hallway features a 40-metre table recreating the feel of a designer’s studio, with textile samples gathered from great brand’s archives. The exhibition then progresses anti-clockwise through eight rooms, dedicated to different themes beginning with the ‘Arty’ and the ‘Daytime’ room followed by ‘Black and White’, ‘Cocktail’, ‘Gala evening’, culminating with ‘Cinema’ and leading up to the ‘Exoticism’ and ‘Space’ collections. Accessories, historic Bulgari jewellery and samples of embroidery complete the display.
“The set up of the exhibition had to integrate perfectly with the Villa’s rich environment, in order to create a sophisticated atmosphere”, say Migliore+Servetto Architects, who managed to initiate a rich dialogue between fashion, art and history. Their delicate interventions highlight the beauty of the clothes, by identifying different areas of the exhibition through soft and intelligent narrative elements that emanate an essence of nostalgia: the platforms supporting the mannequins are modulated in order to create a “flying carpet” effect, and are defined by colourful membranes, one for each of the various themes, while above, thin wireframes with micro-led lighting emphasise the details of the creations on display. Wide wall-mirrors highlight the meticulous selection of paintings chosen by the curators, meanwhile multiplying the space through reflection. Old magazines and historic videos of fashion shows and gala nights shot by the Italian movie studio Istituto Luce and RAI Teche complete an informative tale around the clothes.
Walking along the hallway towards the exit, the visitor reaches the beautiful Belvedere of the Villa, where Italian objects designed during the same period are on display, thus completing the sweeping aesthetic experience of this defining era.