The exhibition Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion 1945-1968, was organized by MAXXI, Rome, and underscores NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale’s special focus on the years following World War II, and explores the fertile period that saw the rapid rise of Italian high fashion.
In an effort to restore and stabilize the Italian post-World War II economy, the United States infused essential support to revitalize the Italian fashion industry. Italian designers helped reactivate textiles and silk factories and provided jobs for skilled craftsmen. Drawing on a rich artistic and cultural history that was part of their everyday life, designers such as Valentino and Pucci and ateliers of Ferragamo and Gucci produced luxury creations that were also comfortable and practical. During this time, the relationship between art and fashion was fluid, with the two disciplines reflecting the working environment of artists and designers.
The exhibition encompasses the time period during the rise of Italian cinema – Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, and Michelangelo Antonioni – and international styles of artists such as Luciano Fontana, whose slashed canvases inspired designer Mila Schön. The popularity of these designs and the social upheaval of the late 1960s led to the rise of Italian-designed casual ready-to-wear fashion to satisfy a mass market.Exhibition conceived by the MAXXI: National Museum of the XXI Century Arts. Curated by Maria Luisa Frisa, Anna Mattirolo, and Stefano Tonchi. Presenting Sponsor: Bulgari. Additional support provided by Funding Arts Broward, Inc.