Commissioned by the Cologni Foundation and curated by Paolo Colombo with Alberto Cavalli and Emanuela Mora, this research was carried out by the “Arti e Mestieri” Research Centre in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Fashion and Cultural Production (Modacult) of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. It explores the history of Italian fashion from an unusual perspective, which usually does not fall under the spotlight of the fashion industry: a world made of tailors, model makers, embroiderers, weavers, dyers, lace makers and other master craftspeople whose dedication contributes to the creation of quintessential Italian quality and style.
The creative and “visionary” figure of the fashion designer often overshadows the highly skilled artisans who play a fundamental role in the production cycle of fashion, and who “translate” a creative project into a product that is not only beautiful but also impeccably made.
The research explores the galaxy of small and medium-sized firms, often family-run, that represent the core of Italian hand-made production: the prized resource that Italian designers jealously treasure as the real “secret” of their style, knowhow and formal as well as substantial perfection.
With their unique professional and personal stories, the master artisans interviewed for the book provide new and fascinating points of view: Carlo Andreacchio, Henri Beguelin, Eufemia, Mario and Roberto Brancato, René Caovilla, Roberto Capucci, Gianni Cerutti and Marta Passaggio, Guia and Guido Galeotti, Pino and Raffaella Grasso, Guillaume Hinfray and Marco Censi, Luigi, Filippo and Edoardo Pavese, Luciano Polato, Alessandro and Cinzia Siniscalchi, Alberto Tagliabue.
The fundamental topic of training is investigated in a chapter dedicated to the strategic role of education in safeguarding and promoting these skills, offering an important overview of the current situation, which is the result of Italy’s reform of its education system. The volume provides food for thought and various examples of high-level training and institutions.
This book was published with the precious contribution of Fondazione Cariplo under the aegis of the Municipality of Milan and of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana.