To celebrate the 90th year of designer Salvatore Ferragamo’s return to Italy from a 12-year stint in the United States, the Musueo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence, Italy has just launched a new exhibit featuring the twentieth century visual history of the famed artist entitled 1927 Return to Italy. Opening last May at the Palazzo Spini Feroni, the showcase is curated by Carlo Sisi. Inspired by Ferragamo’s travels from America to Italy, the general theme of the exhibit takes on the theme of “transatlantic journey”. It will be evident in the newly built special set design by the esteemed Maurizio Balo.
Told like a novel with unfolding chapters, the exhibit will feature 8 different rooms that will focus on his return in 1927 throughout the decade that follows. This period in time was said to be one of Ferragamo’s most vibrant, as he was unafraid and did numerous artistic experimentation. The exhibit as a whole explores how the Italian native made his handcrafted company into a leading fashion enterprise. The story is Ferragamo in Florence is supported through the art works of other great artists such as Maccari, Martini, Thayaht, Gio Ponti, Rosai, Ball and Depero. Additionally, a wide array of clothing and fabrics from the era will be on display. Objects d’art, photographs and vintage advertisements will be pulled out of archives for the exhibit. Fashion lovers are most excited to see the signature shoes he made at the time, which truly catapulted him as a fashion icon.
The first room is dedicated to Ferragamo’s return to Italy on the luxury cruise liner Roma. It sets the mood by introducing the transatlantic theme evident throughout the exhibition. The room features a montage of photographs of the young designer’s life’s aboard the ship. At the center, a video instillation illustrates his life in Hollywood, surrounded by cinema’s most famous faces of the time. Travel documents and other memorabilia is presented for fans to examine, including shoes he created for big movie stars.
The second room features a view of the modern Florence through the eyes of great twentieth century artists such as master painters Giovanni Colacicci, Egisto Ferroni, John Baldwin and Ottone Rosai, amongst others. This is to reflect the Florence that Ferragamo has settled in—a center of art where literature, music, fashion and cinema were at the forefront. The following room continues to dissect Florence’s history by paying tribute to Italian folklore and regionalism, which fueled Ferragamo’s artistic vision at the time.
When reaching the fourth room, we arrive at post World War I Italy. Here we see portraits and photographs of famous Italian women and figures, all who wore Ferragamo and defined the fashion decade. After the world changed from the battles of war, women in society changed distinctly from emancipation. Fashion followed suit giving Ferragamo a canvas for the new type of woman—femme fatales, independent and more powerful than ever.
The Industrious Florence of the Twenties is studied in the fifth room of the exhibit. It showed the dynamic work of artists in the region during the 1920s, which like Ferragamo’s shoes, show a variety of skill and reflecting artistic expression identifying their origin. The sixth room follows with Italian home décor at the time. Florence was considered to be the testing group of furniture items that became popular during the 1950s marked “Made in Italy”.
The final two rooms focus mainly on the body. The seventh room looks at the body in parts, looking at a variation of art including Futurist and Cubist deconstruction that truly affected the silhouettes of high fashion. Finally, the last room looks at the body as an aesthetic instrument of movement. Both rooms represent Ferragamo’s goal in creating the perfect shoe and fashion pieces, that would become defining in a later point of his career.
The Salvatore Ferragamo – 1927 The Return to Italy exhibit runs from May 2017 to May 2018 at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo located at Palazza Spini Feroni in Florence, Italy. For more information visit www.ferragamo.com/museo/it/ita
Text by Chino R. Hernandez
Photography by Guglielmo de’ Micheli per Salvatore Ferragamo
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