A couple of weeks ago I took a visit the the Gucci Museum. This incredible museum archived the history of the past 90 years of the Gucci label. The museum is broken down by themes and most icon items for Gucci. Some of the themes include Logomania, Lifestyle, Bamboo, Travel, and Handbags. There were some iconic Gucci dresses made famous by modern actresses.
An interesting aspect about Gucci is that they not only paid an incredible attention to detail with their predictable fashion items, but they also created unique items to entertain different types of costumers. For example, there was an elaborate travel game set that was uniquely Gucci.
Visiting the Gucci Museum was a unique experience because it made you feel like a client. The entrance was very formal; I was personally escorted and given a basic layout of the museum as I entered. Those small details are what make an experience memorable, something that fashion labels aim to do. This technique draws clients in and makes them feel like they are part of an exclusive club.
Last week we watched “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel”. This intimate documentary gave us an incredible look into the career and life of Diana Vreeland. This was a woman who revolutionized the fashion world by bringing inspiration from her own life and modern culture.
Considered ugly from her childhood, Diana gained inspiration from the many places she traveled, evolution in women’s dress, and dance. She started her career by happenstance, an invitation to work for a fashion magazine based on the dress she was wearing. Thankfully she accepted, and began a revolutionary article all about incredible “what ifs”. Later she became the fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar.
Diana took this position on fearlessly. She transformed the boring, sexist articles for females into the most revolutionary ideas of beauty and fashion. She was one of the first editors to bring such strong attention to celebrities and models by using them in the most unique ways in magazine spreads. Diana also drew inspiration from far away countries and cultures. Nowhere was too far to find inspiration .
Diana was demanding in her career but it reaped incredible results. She never settled and could not be surprised. She was inspired by things that were not normally praised or recognized before, and that ballsy attitude is what really transformed the fashion world into what it is today.
A couple of weeks ago we watched “Scatter My Ashes of Bergdorf’s”. This documentary gave us an inside look into the most prestigious department store in America. Starting with it’s history, Bergdorf Goodman is the epitome of the American Dream. It began with a creative team that wanted to create a luxury experience for shoppers, which soon grew into an empire that conquers an entire block in New York City. Today, aspiring designers dream of having their brand sold inside the doors of Bergdorf Goodman, and the select few who do, have truly made it in the fashion industry.
The incredibly economic success at Bergdorf Goodman’s really says a lot about the importance of fashion in modern day society. This does not only apply to the rich and famous, because we have continued to see a growing interest in fashion when it comes to fashion shows and exhibitions, which continue to sell out and reach record numbers in attendance.
Throughout it’s history, Bergdorf Goodman has become an American icon. Countless celebrities and important figures have shopped there, as well as worked exclusively with designers associated with Bergdorf’s. Another iconic aspect of Bergdorf Goodman’s is their window displays. These elaborate displays are artfully created and pay particular attention to exquisite detail and design. I was actually fortunate enough to see the animal displays that were shown in the film!
This was a wonderful documentary, a truly eye-opening experience about the business and history of an incredible department store. I can’t wait to go back someday with a fuller appreciation of its history and value.
A few weeks ago I visited the Stibbert Museum, located on the Northern end of Florence. This grand museum contained over 36,000 artifacts, and the museum itself is elaborately decorated floor to ceiling. Some of the collections inside included European Armory, Islamic Armory, Japanese Armory, Paintings, and Ceramics.
One interesting aspect about the museum is that it requires you to view the museum in grouped tours. The small group I joined up with unfortunately only spoke Italian so I tried to in as much as I could visually. One commonality that I noticed with all the armories was that although they were all associated stylistically with their region, they all were elaborately decorated and adorned with the finest metals and materials. This somewhat shocked me that so much work would be put into clothing that was likely to get damaged or destroyed. However, if these items were used by men of power, I could understand the importance of appearance when it came to representing your country and its power.
I really appreciated how every room was adorned in decor that fit the period and region represented by the artifacts. It really added to the grand effect of war and transported you into a different time and place. I couldn’t possibly imagine the value of this museum from what I saw.
Though the subject material was not my favorite in this museum, I felt that just walking through the rooms was an incredible experience to have. I would recommend this museum to any war or history buff.
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.
Last week we took a visit to the Pitti Palace and analyzed the costume gallery. It was an eclectic view of the evolution of dress, particularly for women, culminated with a variety of textiles and organized with unique presentations.
Probably the most interesting aspect of this exhibition was it’s eclectic taste and variety of styles. I was surprised to see garments that spanned over several centuries, as well as an overlapping of styles that were used in different decades. Some of the textiles used include sequins, thread woven into fine embroidery, lace, and feathers. I especially appreciated the hat exhibit, which contained styles from the gorgeous to the outrageous. A small portion of the gallery also contained jewelry. I found it interesting that some of the jewelry had a harsher metallic look, giving an unexpected twist to the modern designs.
The last theme of the gallery that stood out to me was the diversity of women’s dress that was affected by female hierarchy. When we looked at some of the older garments from centuries ago, we discovered that women of status were dressed in restricting garments with many pieces, usually made of more valuable fabric. Women of that time with a lower status would wear a similar style, but simplified and more utilitarian depending on the type of work they had to do. In contrast, women of status in a more modern era had the freedom to rebel against the current, form-fitting style of clothing and opt for a more relaxed style or whatever style suited them.
It is needless to say that women played an incredible part in the fashion of the last few centuries, both in the women who designed clothes and the women who wore them. Women continue to evolve the face of fashion to this current day!