American Marketer


Fondazione Ferragamo exhibit examines interwoven nature of art, fashion

April 27, 2016

Silvestro Lega's A Stroll in the Garden Silvestro Lega's A Stroll in the Garden


Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo’s corporate foundation will investigate the increasingly intertwining connections between art and fashion in an upcoming exhibit.

Opening May 18, “Across Art and Fashion” is the result of a collaboration between Fondazione Ferragamo and other Italian cultural institutions, who are donating both pieces from their collections and display space to this exhibit. Getting back to its roots, the exhibition’s topic stems from the eponymous brand founder’s obsession with the contemporary art of his day, which served as a source of inspiration for his designs.

Inseparable inspirers
Across Art and Fashion will be shown at Museo Ferragamo in Florence, as well as in the partner institutions. Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence will have a display of Italian magazines from the 20th century, while Museo Marino Marini will focus on collaboration.

Other collaborators include Museo del Tessuto in Prato and the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence.

These partnerships are in the spirit of Mr. Ferragamo, who worked with a number of avant-garde artists in his day. Included within the displays of clothing, accessories, textiles, art pieces, books, media and photography is a Ferragamo pump inspired by a 1950s painting by artist Kenneth Noland.

Ferragamo pump

Ferragamo suede Tirassegno pump from 1958

Other pieces on display include an Elsa Schiaparelli dress designed in collaboration with Salvador Dalí and an Yves Saint Laurent dress inspired by the work of Piet Mondrian.

The exhibit itself will present a logical look at the way in which fashion and art have informed, intersected and infected one another throughout history, dating back to the Pre-Raphaelites and moving through the 20th century, when artists studied at select ateliers. Looking to the fluidity between the two mediums today, the exhibit will ask whether art and fashion truly can be separated today or whether they are fused together in a constant conversation.

Across Art and Fashion is the brainchild of curators Maria Luisa Frisa, Enrica Morini, Stefania Ricci and Alberto Salvadori.

Fashion and art can mutually benefit from the increasing convergence between the two sectors, according to a panel discussion at the FT Business of Luxury Summit in 2014.

Fashion uses art as a way to elevate products, while artists use collaborations as a method of marketing to raise the awareness for their work. However, fashion labels should think beyond the name attached, since the creative process can also be rewarding (see story).