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Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945

Learn why “Made in Italy” is a mark of style, exploring famous brands through ensembles, film, and photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts latest exhibit.


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Simonetta, evening gown of embroidered silk published in "Harper’s Bazaar," October 1952, Genevieve Naylor

Courtesy Staley-Wise Gallery New York

The term “Made in Italy” is often synonymous with style, but have you ever wondered how that came to be? From post-World War II to present day, incredible fashion achievements have come out of the country—haute couture design, artisanal leather, high-end textiles, knitwear, fine tailoring, innovative ready-to-wear pieces. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is offering a rare chance to explore this history, with a first-of-its-kind exhibit organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London: Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945.

In the exhibit you’ll be able to explore, and see pieces by, brands like Armani, Valentino, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, Missoni, Versace, and Fendi, as some 100 ensembles will be on display, plus fashion accessories including shoes, handbags and jewelry, supplemented by film and photography. The exhibit will be organized into five sections, throughout which visitors will learn about topics ranging from how Italian fashion launched onto a global stage and the growth of it as a big business to how “Made in Italy” became a mark of style, the period in time when these designers became household names, and how Italy’s new generation of designers are navigating the industry. And if you leave still wanting to learn more, the museum is hosting a number of other events related to the exhibit:

Men of the Cloth (Oct. 24, 3 p.m.): This film depicts a portrait of three Italian master tailors, showing how they navigate their careers and their devotion to the craft. Free.

Preview party (Oct. 25, 8-11 p.m.): See the exhibit before it opens, then grab a drink and mingle among the masterpieces. Cost: $25, $20 for members.

Anna Bonavita and Isabella Dalla Ragione: A Taste of Italy (Nov. 2, 1-4 p.m.): Bonavita will take you on a tour of Italy’s finest artisan chocolate, while Ragione will talk about fresco paintings and host a tasting of rare heirloom apple varieties. Cost: $40, $20 for members.

Cinema Italiano: Four films will be shown as a part of this series, including Bellissima (Nov. 16, 2 p.m.), Barefoot Contessa (Nov. 23, 2 p.m.), Valentino: The Last Emperor (Nov. 28, 2 p.m.), and La Amiche (Nov. 30, 2 p.m.). Cost: $5, free for members.

Third Thursday (Nov. 20, 6-9 p.m.): Visit the exhibit for free, then watch a catwalk show, take shots in the photo booth, design your own Italian Style-inspired fashions, and master Italian phrases with help from the Italian Cultural Center.

Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945
October 26-January 4, 2015
Admission: Member pass, member child and children younger than 6 free, members $16, adults $20, and children ages 6-12 $10

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