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Across Art and Fashion

Start Date 19 May 2016
End Date 04 July 2017
Venue Museo Salvatore Ferragamo
Location Florence, Italy
Curator Stefania Ricci, Maria Luisa Frisa, Enrica Morini and Alberto Salvadori

Is fashion art? This simple question conceals the complex universe of an articulated relationship that has long been investigated, but without arriving at a clear and unequivocal definition. Fashion – because of its need to be functional and thus refer to real life, but also its bond with craftsmanship and industry – seems to be far removed from the ideal of art pour l’art, a concept that nevertheless has not always been representative of the art world. Andy Warhol has taught us that the uniqueness of artwork no longer meshes with artistic production, and today we find a plethora of exhibitions by fashion designers, who in turn embrace the practices of contemporary art. In this context, can we still talk about the dichotomy between art and fashion as was the case in the 20th century? This project analyses the forms of dialogue between these two worlds: reciprocal inspirations, overlaps and collaborations, from the experiences of the Pre-Raphaelites to those of Futurism and from Surrealism to Radical Fashion. The exhibition itinerary focuses on the work of Salvatore Ferragamo, who was fascinated and inspired by the avant-garde art movements of the 20th century, on several ateliers of the Fifties and Sixties that were venues for studies and encounters, and on the advent of the culture of celebrities. It then examines the experimentation of the Nineties and goes on to ponder whether in the contemporary cultural industry we can still talk about two separate worlds or if we are instead dealing with a fluid interplay of roles. The unique aspect of the exhibition programme lies in the collaboration of several cultural institutions and the fact that it is being held at different venues. In addition to the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, promoter and organizer of the project together with the Fondazione Ferragamo, the various exhibitions are being hosted by the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, the Gallerie degli Uffizi (Galleria d’arte moderna di Palazzo Pitti) and the Museo Marino Marini in Florence, and by the Museo del Tessuto in Prato. These institutions took an active part in implementing this concept with the aim of inspiring joint reflection.