The project is the result of a collaboration between the Archivio Storico Foto Locchi (a precious cultural heritage safeguarded by the MIBACT, with more than five million images), the director of the Uffizi Galleries Eike D. Schmidt, the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana - thanks to which the exhibition will be
inaugurated with an event held during the 91st edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo - and the Gruppo Editoriale publishing house. The primary purpose is to enhance the paramount photographic Archive and pay tribute to the historical link between the city and fashion.
Eike D. Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Galleries: "Today, as the inevitable abstraction from concrete objects and spaces in the virtual world leads to an unprecedented search for authentic masterpieces and unique places, Florence has the opportunity to renew its identifying role as the hub of the textile and clothing industry, which essentially dates back to the Renaissance".
Andrea Cavicchi, President of the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana: "The Archivio Storico Foto Locchi is the most authentic evidence of the birth and affirmation of Made in Italy craftsmanship in the world. Without this documentary heritage, the city of Florence would be impoverished. And with it, the institution that I manage, the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana, which was set up by far-sighted public administrators who understood - already in 1954 - how vital textiles-clothing, leather goods and the creativity of our artisan production could be in terms of work, turnover and employment rate'.
Erika Ghilardi, Archivio Foto Locchi: "This monographic exhibition, the first of the Archivio Storico Foto Locchi, in the rooms of the ancient palace of Palazzo Pitti, and its opening during the 91st Pitti Uomo, is a source of great pride and sincere emotion for my family and me. The fashion section is one of the most present and essential themes in the Archive, a cultural and visual heritage comprising over five million images that narrate the story of Florence over the last century".
THE THREE SECTIONS OF THE EXHIBITION
The artisan Bottega: that group of workshops dedicated to high craftsmanship since the Middle Ages, which in the 20th century favoured the birth of some of the most famous Italian high fashion brands in the world. By the 1920s, the myth of Florentine craftsmanship had already reached the United States: wealthy American heiresses were flocking to Florence to buy up embroidered lingerie, silverware, exquisitely crafted leather and straw hats. Here, the choice of Salvatore Ferragamo is emblematic: after 13 years of success in America, he decided to settle in Florence not only for its beauty but also to tap into that well of craftsmanship that alone could enable him to achieve his excellence goals.
Fashion in Florence: from the first events after the Second World War to the legendary fashion shows in the Sala Bianca in Palazzo Pitti (1952-1982); the origins of modern fashion in Florence are due to the courage of a man who was as kind as strict and who had a profound knowledge of the American market: Giovanni Battista Giorgini. He had made a respectable name for himself in New York as a buyer capable of transforming dreams into reality. If he was the father of Italian fashion, Florence was the cradle of beauty and charm in those years. A new style that emanated from the Florentine and international entourage formed around the newborn fashion system, as recounted in the photos of those days taken by the Foto Locchi reporters not only at the fashion shows in the Sala Bianca but also in the private palaces and historic gardens where gala evenings, parties andexclusive rendezvous took place.
The personalities of fashion: the Florentine Maisons that gave rise to the modern history of Italian fashion, such as Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Emilio Pucci told through their founders and the figures who made them world-famous. The deus ex machina of the great Italian couturiers that the Sala Bianca has seen on the catwalk, such as Roberto Capucci, Emilio Schuberth, the Sorelle Fontana and Simonetta Colonna di Cesarò.
Personalities who were not afraid to get involved first-hand alongside Giovanni Battista Giorgini, who made a revolution in modern Italian custom starting from Florence. But there were also special guests flying in from Paris, such as Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli, names from the international aristocracy including the Duke of Windsor and acclaimed Hollywood stars from Audrey Hepburn to Paulette Goddard and the divine Callas.