Most interesting: The burial dress for Eleonora di Toledo. I was surprised that she would be buried in this long and elegant white gown. However, white was the color of ‘enlightenment’ and was worn on on both your marriage day and your burial day. By the way it is hemmed, it is clear that she wore platform heels, another intriguing style of the time that I wasn’t aware of. The trim of the gown was made with silver thread and black velvet, so it was very shiny in its day. There is a corset on the gown but the “V” shape is not as dramatic as it will become in later time. Historians were lucky that whomever dressed her accidentally turned one of her stalkings inside out because it gives more information to analyze. An uplifting story, the Queen refused to use the stalking loom for she knew there were many lower class women whose livelihood depended on producing these; with the invention of a machine that could do their work, the women would have no job and the Queen did not want to take that away.
Most regal: The blue robe of Donna Franca Florio by Ventura Atelier (1925-1930).The colors reminding us of the Royal Savoia Family who ruled in Italy until 1861.
Most flashy: Of course, the whole room in which Patty Pravo’s wardrobe was displayed was very modern and theatrical, so of course the clothing was too. Patty is an Italian pop singer whose first song debuted in 1966 “Ragazzo triste”, the Italian version of Sonny & Cher’s “But You’re Mine”, and was the first pop song ever to be played on Vatican Radio. This is a silver mesh gown by Gianni Versace she wore to the Sanremo Festival in 1984.
Most inspiring/touching: The wedding dress room was sweet to see. Most single women admire wedding gowns to relate to what they want their wedding dress to look like or for already married women, which dress is most similar to the one they wore. The gowns date back from the 1910’s – 1980’s with simple, modest styles to more elegant and beaded gowns. My favorite was this one below by Norman Hartnell worn by Lady Ethel Sykes in 1937. It has a simple, elegant shape with intricate beading and a timeless style that brides today would even wear. Hartnell, a British fashion designer, was the Royal Dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II, her mother, and also dressed Lady Margaret (Queen Elizabeth’s sister), seen in the second dress below. I would not have minded if he did my wedding gown too…
My overall impressions: The museum was probably my favorite that we have visited so far. All the pieces were elegantly displayed, as they should be in the Pitti Palace. There was no chance of getting bored because the exhibit had dresses that were 100’s of years apart from each other, hats, jewelry, and historical pieces. My brain was fed as well as my eyes. I will definitely be going back.
First of all, I felt like I really was in an archeological dog site at the museum. It had a dusty, earthy smell and was dimly lit. I have been to the Egyptian museum in Torino before and it was also dark but more modern and clean. I felt like I as in an ancient Egyptian palace. The Florence museum felt more like someone’s attic that was full of valuable treasures but the presentation could make them look like junk. That being said, it would b good for the museum to clean and update their building because then the artifacts can be what one notices instead of noticing the gloomy building that they are housed in.
Looking at the artifacts in the Egyptian area was by far the most interesting for me. There was a mummy of what appeared to be a child, but was informed later that it was a cat. It was swaddled tightly and neatly, which gave me the impression of how serious the ancient Egyptians took death and after life. I admire them for their willingness to think about the afterlife. In these days, it’s taboo to talk in excess about this subject. There’s so many heated opinions and views about it that now people just stay quiet. I do think that Egyptians might have thought about it too much if people stopped living in the moment and put too much energy into the idea of death instead of living, but those are just my thoughts.
Favorite artifacts: The most impressive piece that I saw was the “Bronze statue of the Chimaera of Arezzo” from St. Lorentino Gate in Arezzo. It is from the end of the 5th- early 4th century b.C. This bronze statue is one of the best known examples of Etruscan art. In 1553, it was found in the ancient city of Arezzo and Cosimo I took it into possession. He proudly put the statue in the Palazzo Vecchio for the public to see and it is said he cleaned it himself.
This exhibit was simply beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the photos and ads that Fallai and Armani collaborated to create. Two brilliant minds came together to make stunning images that changed to worlds of fashion and advertising and their interaction with one another. Although each image is unique, there are some trends existing in the exhibit as a whole. I found the expressions of the models to be natural and carefree, encouraging the viewer to not only accept a brand, but also emulate a lifestyle. The subjects being photographed had a way of staring through the viewer, as if trying to peer into something deeper than face value. This depth gives each photograph life and character. It makes the viewer relate to the model, who would otherwise seem like a shallow, soulless face only used to sell a product.
The brilliance behind Armani and Fallai is that they created a look and found a way to capture the look with personality and a sort of “down-to-earth” vibe. The photos evoke a positive emotion in the viewer, taking them somewhere they have always wanted to go. A place of casual joy and endless possibilities.
My favorite image was the one of the woman on the donkey kissing the man walking beside her. There is so much happening in this photo. The most obvious element it contains is romance. However, it also communicates adventure, passion, and freedom. It is as if the viewer saw a glimpse of this couple by accident, caught in a moment. The photo gives the viewer a quick insight into each individual as well as their relationship, which is based on spontaneity and experiencing new things. It also associates the clothing with the durability and high quality ideal for travel, while also exemplifying a chic vibe.
Overall, I enjoyed this exhibit very much. It was inspiring to see the potential power of an image if it is properly planned and executed.
The National Archaeological Museum held a vast array of historical artifacts that gave me a better view of how some Ancient cultures lived and dressed. This museum contained collections of the Etruscans, Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians.
One commonality that I noticed between these cultures was that both men and women would wear clothing that was loose, usually as some form of tunic, skirt, or dress. Footwear was minimal for the most part, if any were worn it was usually some form of a sandal.
Documentation for the styles of these people came in the form of statues, small figures, pottery, caskets, and small artifacts including jewelry. The only culture that strongly emphasized makeup was the Egyptians; both men and women wore it. Headdresses were usually worn as a sign of status, and a variety of materials were used in these societies, including bronze, gold, precious stones, and other tangible materials.
Overall I found this museum to be a very eclectic collection of ancient materials that enlightened my understanding of the different types of clothing and adornment. However, most of the descriptions were of course in Italian so at times it was difficult to follow the collections in the museum.
The archeological museum was fascinating for many reasons! I enjoyed seeing such well-preserved pieces of history that help us better understand the culture in which they existed. Whether pots, weapons, or jewelry, each artifact contributes greatly to our knowledge about the people that were involved in its construction and use. One of the main things I saw from visiting this museum is that even ancient cultures had a similar idea of beauty as ours today. They had an appreciation for clothing, precious stones, rings, and piercings that were aesthetically pleasing and flattering.
The people of ancient times, as seen at the museum, also had similar purposes for fashion. They used it for functionality, unity, and, on the contrary, separation between social classes. Even though there is no set social class distinction in most cultures nowadays, certain items still indicate status and financial well-being. Like this concept of social distinction, almost everything we have today is either based on or a recreation of pieces that were made in ancient times. The people of Egypt, for example, were depicted as having used paint and other mixtures to color their faces, similar to our use of modern makeup. They placed a high value on beauty and material things, so much so that they buried their loved ones in tombs containing a large portion of that person’s possessions.
Another portion of the museum I found interesting was the statue of Minerva di Arezzo and the pieces found right after the statue. The bronze depiction of Minerva di Arezzo showed beautifully the draping fabric that was the style of that time. It was fascinating to see that flowy, draped fabric was most likely a necessary style of dress due to a lifestyle that involved a lot of laying down. The stone carvings in the room after this bronze statue showed poses of relaxation that were complimented by the loose, free silhouette of their clothing. This is an example of the necessary combination of fashion and function.
It was also interesting to see that common motifs used today (flowers, horses, etc.) were also popular in ancient times. The idea of drawing from nature to create a garment or accessory design is nothing new. An appreciation for the natural shapes and colors found on earth has always existed, and it is interesting to see how the interpretation of these natural elements has evolved throughout history, from realistic depictions to the more artistic and abstract representations seen today. Overall, the museum was quite fascinating and I enjoyed gaining a better understanding of the foundations from which our current fashions come. It is vital to have knowledge about the past in order for us to fully comprehend and appreciate the present.