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Montedomini: Comparative Fashion Studies

An exhibition at Florence's Montedomini explores different paths in fashion studies, presenting a fashion exhibition by the IUAV University students.

Wardrobes are fascinating things since their contents preserve our stories and styles. Historical wardrobes were the starting point behind the “Montedomini” event, launched during the Pitti by Italo Lazzari from the Treviso-based concept store Lazzari, promoted by Mug Magazine, and organised at the eponymous building, a 535 year-old former hospital converted into a home for elderly people. The event gave the opportunity to visitors to admire the historical wardrobes of the hospital, but also to follow a discovery path through the creations of fashion design students from the Polimoda and the Fashion Design course at the Faculty of Design and Arts of Venice's IUAV University.

Upon entering the hospital building, on the ground floor, visitors were invited to admire archive pieces from historical fashion brands such as Ballantyne's intarsia sweaters but also sportswear garments by seminal companies such as Brooks England, Colnago and De Marchi, showcased inside the hospital wardrobes.
The second part of the exhibition, entitled “Studies in Fashion Design” and curated by Mario Lupano, consisted instead in a double installation mixing photography and fashion.

One part of the installation featured images comparing urban landscapes with fashion, the other showcased instead 35 designs created reusing vintage scarves by the students from the last year of the IUAV course. The students moved from the decorative and structural elements that usually characterise scarves and, inspired also by a series of academic lectures and films from the 50s and 60s in which scarves had a prominent role, created entirely new designs. “Scarves have very precise dimensions and decorative elements and these were quite interesting challenges to face for the students, since they had to rethink the dimensions, art and fantasy behind a scarf and turn this accessory into an absolute protagonist,” explained curator Mario Lupano.

In many ways this was a sort of mathematical equation the students resolved using their own creative rules: scarves were deconstructed and reconstructed, cut into bits and pieces, used as the reference point for elaborate embroideries or employed to create ruffled elements and cut out motifs. In one design different scarves were used to create draped motifs and were then trapped inside a light see-through fabric, as if they were mysterious sea creatures floating into a tank. “Some students focused on the more technical elements, others on the decorative side, but all the designs display a strong tailoring component,” Lupano stated.

The most difficult part was actually selecting the right scarf and making sure the students approached the project from an interesting point of view. “We wanted them to have an almost Dadaist approach to this project so that they could have avoided falling into the most banal stereotypes commonly associated with a scarf and could have radically revolutionised the purposes of this accessory,” concluded Sandro Santini who assisted Fabbri in coordinating the workshop.

The designs exhibited during the “Studies in Fashion Design” event will be showcased in Treviso at the IUAV open day on 2nd July 2010, as part of the exhibition “Collecting Connecting :: 4”. The event will also include two exhibitions curated by Judith Clark featuring the designs created by the IUAV students.