Costume Gallery in Palazzo Pitti

By Gayane Simonyan
Student at the Istituto Europeo in Florence

The Costume Gallery in Palazzo Pitti in Florence displays the exhibitions of the collections of historical accessories and clothes that had previously been stored in the warehouses of the palace. The collections cover the period from the 18th century to the present-day but there are also rare examples of the 16th century. Costume Gallery collections include around ninety theatre costumes as well belonging to the cornerstone of the history of Italian show business, Sartoria Tirelli, which were given to the museum together with a huge number of historical clothes by Umberto Tirelli. The exhibition now starts with Rosa Genoni who was born in 1887 in Tirano, Italy, and by the time she was eighteen, was involved in socialist workers’ clubs. She was the fi rst person in the history of Fashion to support the concept of “Made in Italy”. Taking Italian Renaissance art as her inspiration for both the structure of her creations and textile decorations, she was deeply committed to improving the position of women in the workplace, and collaborated with the Società Umanitaria vocational school for girls as teacher and director, and was the fi rst teacher in the History of Italian Costume. The dresses Rosa Genoni presented at the International Exhibition in Milan in 1906, inspired by Botticelli, Pisanello, Raff aello, Mantegna and Ghirlandaio and fully embodied her ideas. She also wrote the fi rst book in the history of Fashion. This section features two of her masterpieces, the Court Cape based on a watercolor by Pisanello, and the ball dress inspired by Botticelli’s Primavera.
The next is Patty Pravo born in Venice, Italy in 1948 who was an Italian pop singer whose career spanned for more than four decades. “Patty Pravo doesn’t actually exist, she is an abstraction, an essence, a wicked and angelic alien fl ower that blossomed in the wild garden of music” said Gino Castaldo, an Italian journalist and a critic of music. The list is continued by Anna Piaggi born in Milan in 1931. She was a fashion journalist, author and collector; an icon of eccentric extravagant and provocative style, but also an elegant woman famous for having invented vintage long before it became fashionable. Maria Cumani Quasimodo – wife, life-companion and muse of the author and poet Salvatore Quasimodo – was born in Milan on 20 May, 1908.
The dresses she wore as a dancer and actress, and sometimes mixing the stage with real life, have been ennobled by their unique historical value. The next hall is decorated by the costumes of Lietta Cavalli who holds a very unique place in the world of fashion and who has always considered fashion as the means of implementing her artistic work since she was interested in everything textile that can cover, decorate and transform the body.

Costume Gallery palazzo Pitti