Palazzo Pitti~Galleria del Costume

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.

Donne protagoniste del Novecento - Donna Franca Florio - Galleria del Costume Firenze - Nov 2013

10_-_Sale_della_Galleria_del_Costume_con_il_nuovo_allestimento__Donne_Protagoniste_nel_Novecento_

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.

Donne protagoniste del Novecento - Patty Pravo, Sanremo 84, abito Gianni Versace - Galleria del Costume Firenze - Nov 2013

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…

Donne protagoniste del Novecento - Wedding dresses - Galleria del Costume Firenze - Nov 2013

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.

Sarah Massoud

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