European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Designers

“Gianfranco Ferré. Design Principles” at the Italian Cultural institute in Los Angeles

fashion exhibitionfashion illustrationItalian fashionresearchstilismotechnology

The exhibition analyses the work of the stilista, using the archive as springboard to reflect on his design approach to fashion

After WW2, the connection between the USA and Italian Fashion was incredibly strong, and Italian fashion style and, more specifically, design, were all the rage during the 1970s and 1980s. These were the years off of stilismo, a wave of talented designers redefined the meaning of ‘making’ fashion in Italy.  Gianfranco Ferré became one of the household names of Italian stilismo. His story is now told at the Italian Cultural institute in Los Angeles with the exhibition Gianfranco Ferré. Design Principles.

Curated by Rita Airaghi, who collaborated with the designer for years and managed to keep his archive alive for decades, and Paola Bertola and Federica Vacca, Professor at Politecnico di Milano where the archive is now housed and studied, the exhibition relies on drawings and garments to guide visitors into Ferré’s stylistic research and a constant process: a stylistic as well as technological reading of the archive and the intangible process its objects represent.

The Ferré archive, donated to the Politecnico di Milano and basis of the Research Centre, is evoked in the show in a rather tangible way, and digital meda become bridges between the audience and the breath of material carefully preserved and studied in Milan, also documenting the phases of construction of the exhibition.

The show sets the tone for the future of the Research Centre and its activities, aimed at “the development of an ambitious ‘augmented archive’”, as Bertola pointed out. For now, everyone can wonder – and learn more! – thanks to the richly illustrated, open-source catalogue by Rita Airaghi, Paola Bertola and Federica Vacca, which is available to download here.