Exhibition in Gorizia from 21 March 2023

ITALIA CINQUANTA. Moda e Design. Nascita di uno stile
 21 March 2023 – 27 August 2023
Gorizia, Palazzo Attems Petzenstein

Exhibition curated by Carla Cerutti, Enrico Minio Capucci and Raffaella Sgubin
Ideated and promoted by ERPAC FVG (Regional Agency for Cultural Heritage of Friuli Venezia Giulia) – Museum of Fashion and Applied Arts of Gorizia

Press Release

The myth of  the Italian Style took shape 70 years ago, in the 1950s, when Italy, devastated by the wounds of war, chose to attack the future. Soon the so-called “Italian Miracle” would arrive, with its greatness and fragilities, and that myth has never been obfuscated, gradually qualifying itself and imposing itself as an added value of our country in the most diverse sectors.

This large exhibition, curated by Carla Cerutti, Enrico Minio Capucci and Raffaella Sgubin, supported in their work by a large group of important specialists, reinterprets that historical moment in the light of two specific components: fashion and design, including in the latter also the tradition of applied arts, a strong point of Italian production, which was more artisanal in past eras. A third “factor”, cinema, is also showcased on the side, as a powerful instrument of planetary amplification of  the Italian Style.
The exhibition “Italia Cinquanta. Fashion and Design Nascita di uno stile” is promoted and organized by ERPAC FVG – Regional Agency for Cultural Heritage of Friuli Venezia Giulia, through its Museum of Fashion and Applied Arts of Gorizia. You can admire it in the sumptuous Attems Petzenstein Palace, in the heart of Gorizia (future European Capital of Culture together with Nova Gorica in 2025) from 21 March to 27 August 2023.
The time span examined is ideally the one between the elections of 18 April 1948 and the 1960 Rome Olympics, a period of economic and cultural renaissance: a period of great fertility from an industrial, artistic and artisanal point of view. It was an auroral moment of Italian design that would become famous as “Made in Italy”.
The section dedicated to design and applied arts will range from furniture to lamps, from ceramics to glass, from metals to furnishing fabrics, carpets and tapestries, choosing among the most exemplary excellences of the period, both from a creative and innovative point of view: the furniture designed by Franco Albini, Gio Ponti, Osvaldo Borsani, Gastone Rinaldi, Carlo Mollino, Ico Parisi, Marco Zanuso, Vico Magistretti, Luigi Caccia Dominioni, and made by Poggi, Cassina, Fornasetti, Arflex, Azucena, Tecno, Fontana Arte, Rima, the avant-garde lamps by Gino Sarfatti, Angelo Lelii, Max Ingrand and the Castiglioni brothers, the ceramics entrusted to industrial production by Guido Andloviz, Antonia Campi, Giovanni Gariboldi, Piero Fornasetti, Ettore Sottsass and those more “niche” created by Guido Gambone, Guerrino Tramonti, Salvatore Meli, Pietro Melandri, Alessio Tasca, Clara Garesio, San Polo, or those by Lucio Fontana, Fausto Melotti and Leoncillo Leonardi. The rich and extraordinary Murano production will be exemplified through the best works of Venini & C. (Fulvio Bianconi and Paolo Venini), Aureliano Toso (Dino Martens), Barovier & Toso (Ercole Barovier), and Archimede Seguso, as well as the submerged glass of Flavio Poli for Seguso Vetri d’Arte and the precious polychrome reactions of Giulio Radi. Completing the innovative picture of the furniture are precious enamels by Paolo De Poli and Studio Del Campo, some designed by Gio Ponti, silver by Lino Sabattini, Eros Genazzi and the new industrial steel production by Sambonet and Alessi. In addition to all of the above, fabrics, carpets and tapestries could not be missed: from the shimmering fantasy of Piero Fornasetti to the sketches, fabrics and tapestries of Oscar and Fausto Saccorotti, Enrico Paulucci and Emanuele Rambaldi for MITA, the printed cottons of JSA and MTS, to the “signature” carpets of Renata Bonfanti’s workshop. Some iconic examples of industrial design contribute to recreating the atmosphere of the economic boom years, such as the Phonola 17/18 adjustable television from 1956, the Cifra 5 mechanical watch from Solari and also the Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter from 1950 and the Necchi Mirella sewing machine from 1957, both designed by Marcello Nizzoli and awarded with the Compasso d ‘Oro, the most authoritative world design award, established in 1954. A section of the exhibition will be dedicated to this theme.
The ’50s also represent a decade of fundamental importance for fashion, so much that the official birth of Italian fashion can be traced back to 1951, thanks to the enlightened initiative of Giovan Battista Giorgini, an entrepreneur who had the intuition of bringing together, in Florence, the most important creative talents of the moment, selected among those who chose not to be inspired by trends from Paris, which was considered the homeland of fashion since the 18th century. Thus began the fabulous season of the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti, an exceptional setting for fashion shows that brought together buyers from all over the world, laying the foundations for the phenomenon of Italian Fashion. A selection of the most significant models of the period, dresses and accessories will be exhibited, including creations by Emilio Pucci, Emilio Schuberth, Roberto Capucci, Simonetta, Alberto Fabiani, Sorelle Fontana, Jole Veneziani, Gattinoni, Biki, Curiel, Marucelli, Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo. These firms’ clientele included the stars of Hollywood cinema, such as Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Esther Williams, as well as “local” divas such as Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Elsa Martinelli. At the end of the decade Valentino opened his atelier, which imprinted his style on the following decades.
For the promotion of the nascent Italian fashion on an international level, unique ingredients such as the Italian cultural heritage, a very high level of craftsmanship and the showcase offered by film productions were expertly mixed. If the national capitals of fashion were Rome, Florence and Milan, creative talents destined for great success were being prepared in the northeast. During the period under consideration, Renato Balestra from Trieste was an appreciated designer for Schuberth and the Sorelle Fontana, but he would open his own atelier at the end of the decade. Gigliola Curiel was already working in Milan. Mila Schön and Ottavio Missoni, both Dalmatians, appeared on the fashion scene in the 1950s to triumph in the following decade.
The Design and Applied Arts section will host about 150 pieces, from public and private collections, curated by Carla Cerutti, former co-curator with Raffaella Sgubin of the exhibition “Futurismo. Moda. Design” of  2009. For this section, Cerutti  will use the scientific consultation of the Association of the Archives of Italian Applied Arts of the twentieth century.
The Fashion section will be curated by Enrico Minio Capucci and Raffaella Sgubin with the partnership of the Roberto Capucci Foundation and the collaboration of the Italian Fashion Archive of Giovan Battista Giorgini and the CSAC (Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione) of the University of Parma.   The garments on display will be lent from the Enrico Quinto and Paolo Tinarelli Collection, the Roberto Capucci Foundation and the archives of the maisons, such as the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, the Germana Marucelli Association, the Micol Fontana Foundation, the Emilio Pucci Archive Foundation.