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The Museum of Costume and Fashion in Florence
At the Pitti Palace, a Grand Tour in the style of yesterday and today

It was at the Pitti Palace, in the glittering Sala Bianca, that Italian fashion saw its breakthrough to international prominence with the historic fashion show of July 1952. It is therefore not surprising that among the museums housed in this imposing palace in Florence is one dedicated to fashion and costume, and which has been showcasing its new layout, the result of three years of renovation, since December 2023. That is to say, at least part of its new design, with the last rooms to be unveiled in the coming months (said to be by spring 2024).

The 12 rooms already in use are an incredible journey into the 20th century, known as the “century of a thousand styles”, and into the first years of the current millennium. From the theatrical ‘kimono-cloak’ created by Mariano Fortuny for Eleonora Duse, to the 1920s ‘flapper’ tunic by Chanel, the sequinned glitter of the outfit worn by Franca Florio and the flamboyant evening gowns of Elsa Schiaparelli, to the exquisite creations of Emilio Schuberth, the tailor to the divas of the 1950s including Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren.
Not to mention the dress designed in 1984 by Gianni Versace for Patty Pravo’s performance at Sanremo, which became one of the Festival’s iconic outfits. Then there is the sensuality of the legendary black sheath dress designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and made famous by Madonna, the allure of Gianfranco Ferré’s collection for Dior in the 1990s, and unique pieces of the 2000s by Miuccia Prada, Giorgio Armani and John Galliano.

There is also a fascinating section of some of the greatest designers in contemporary fashion, which are joined by another 10 rooms where one can admire the costumes of the nobility and aristocracy from the 16th to the 19th century, together with a room dedicated to the jewellery from the treasury of the last Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand III of Habsburg Lorraine.

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