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Animalia Fashion

Start Date 08 January 2019
End Date 05 May 2019
Venue Palazzo Pitti, Le Gallerie degli Uffizi
Location Florence, Italy
Curator Patricia Lurati

An unexpected encounter between Haute Couture and Nature at Palazzo Pitti: discovering the wonders of the animal world! 

Dresses like sculptures, fabrics and embroideries like paintings: everything contributes to recreate, in the halls of the Museum of Fashion and Costume , a kind of zoological walk between creations of contemporary stylists (only models from the last decade are exhibited) that evoke the animal world more unexpected. Fashion can surprise us, unleash our imagination, involve us in a new game of identifications and suggestions. From France to China, from Russia to Italy, the clothes on display offer a surprising catalog of what Haute Couture has to offer to Nature in terms of inspiration and suggestion, and to Art as a product of fantasy and genius. 

Let’s not expect leopard spots, but babirussa teeth; zebra and tiger cats are absent, to make way for insects, hedgehogs, swans, lobsters, snakes, fish, shells and corals, to signify that Fashion is Art and as such a “monkey of Nature”. The relationship between clothes, accessories and animals is investigated in a fun and poetic way, but also engaged, at a time when climate change and a decline in superpowers’ interest in environmental problems put many species in danger. 

The Animalia Fashion exhibition thus becomes one of the most surprising and evocative installations ever conceived in the field of Haute Couture, it is pure lyricism in the proposed combinations, but also a deep invitation to reflect on the wonders of the universe, if you pay attention to the layout, conceived in fact like a fantastic, hyperbolic natural history museum. Clothes, accessories and jewelry thus become an experience, a journey through the history of zoological science, but above all a discovery of shapes and colors that evoke common or rare animals from time to time. The contemporary style – examples from 2000 to 2018 are exhibited, lent by the most famous fashion houses and emerging fashion designers – expresses its extraordinary creative power thanks also to unexpected combinations, in the rooms of the Museum, La Specola Natural History Museum , with spiders kept in display cases by the Italian Association of Arachnology but also with objects from the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography and with drawings taken from ancient bestiaries and pages from medieval tacuinasanitatis. 

” In this roundup of almost a hundred pieces of clothes, bags, shoes, jewelry and accessories, Haute Couture interprets a fabulous universe, where mannequins become creatures of a modern and poetic bestiary ” declares the director of the Uffizi Eike Schmidt. The curator and creator Patricia Lurati, who understood the exhibition as the setting of an imaginary museum, adds: “ In an exciting dialogue with this zoo of fabrics, feathers, hides – and not only – the visitor is surprised, involved in the discovery of the wonders of the animal world, which for designers becomes a source of inspiration, or which creates unexpected combinations in the imagination of the beholder “.