Probably, everyone in the world knows the meaning of the word bellissima, a word we Italians use to describe a girl stunningly beautiful. On the other hand, not everyone knows that, from 1945 to 1968, the whole Italy had been bellissima. To remind us of that period of time, when fashion started enlightening the Italian world with its glitters and colours, the Villa Reale di Monza has organized an exhibition that will last until September 10th. It’s an exhibition designed to celebrate the beauty and unicity of fashion and of Italy in general: an exhibition to testify that, during such a painful time, beauty could still exist and prevail.
Don’t be discouraged by the fact that the exhibition is in Monza. Getting to Villa Real is, in fact, very easy. If you have a car, you’ll only need to drive for no longer than 20 minutes. On the other hand, if you need to catch a train, don’t worry: simply go to Lambrate railway station and catch the S9 train.
Soon, you’ll see the Royal Villa of Monza in front of you: you’ll notice how magical it is. Build in 1780 by architect Giuseppe Piermarini, the villa has undergone several renovation works and still keeps nowadays its imperial and majestic looks.
After treasuring the works of Steve McCurry and De Chirico, now Piermarini’s Villa has opened its doors to the exhibition curated by Maria Luisa Frisa and Stefano Tonchi Anna Mattirolo: Bellissima. Italian haute couture from 1945 to 1968.
The name is a reference to Visconti’s famous film, where Anna Magnani played a mother eager to make her daughter enter the film industry, which will reveal itself to be false and dangerous. In the exhibition, however, there is nothing misleading: everything, indeed, is clear a hymn to beauty. Fashion, photography and films are interwoven to evoke the time of artistic production that has allowed Italy to become the number one leader of the fashion industry.
In the wide and elegant rooms of the Villa, lit by the windows that cover the walls, there are items belonging to some prestigious private collections: you can see the details of both day and night-clothes studied by designers like Biagiotti, Curiel, Fontana and many others.
Not only clothes, but also jewellery, like Gucci’s and Ferragamo’s, Cartori’s hats and samples of tissue from the Sorelle Fontana’s archive.
What links together all these spectacular fashion testimonies is the central gallery, the hearth of the exhibition. Here, in fact, the many themes of the exhibition are unfold, through a spectacular selection of photographic materials, documents and films that testify to the centrality of the fashion industry in the period of Italian post-war recovery.
Furthermore, don’t miss the mini-cinema installed in one of the rooms, where clips of Antonioni, Fellini and Rossellini’s movies show that, during the Hollywood years, Italian fashion was able to bring back the attention to Rome.