This exhibition illustrates the long creative process behind silk prints, uniting creative intuition and industrial artisan excellence.

April 5, 2021

The Salvatore Ferragamo Silk exhibit tells this story by drawing on the abundant archives of the Italian fashion company that made silk accessories, silk scarves and ties one of the most iconic elements of its signature style.

With the help of illustrators from outside the company, and often artists, in the late 1950s, Salvatore began producing the first silk scarves. His preferred themes were the art and stunning monuments of Italian cities, in line with the trend in Italian fashion at the time to support contemporary creations and celebrate the country’s artistic and handicraft traditions.

The exhibition features juxtaposing works of art from the villa with silk scarves and fabric prints created by Fulvia in the course of her professional life. In the early 1970s, alongside women’s shoes, silk became a hallmark of the Ferragamo brand and with it, the brand’s silk prints.

In the second half of the 1980s, decorative patterns began proliferating, flowers in bouquets, on trellises, woven into garlands, in vases, in checkerboard patterns, in trapezoids, diamonds, circles and sunbursts, an explosion of plant life, a botanical jubilee; and along with plants, there were exotic patterns filled with tigers and lions in a jungle not so wild as captivating. Even underwater vegetation made an appearance, with algae, coral, fish and even imaginary plants.

These myriad sources of inspiration were resketched and noted on sheets of paper, season after season, almost maniacally, and then gathered in volumes, over one thousand of which can now be found in the Ferragamo archives, in the form of multi-coloured collages that constituted the moodboards based on which new creative themes were brought to life. A fabric print, a tie or silk scarf, is displayed alongside the source of inspiration for every pattern, be it a book or painting, a vase or sculpture, from museums and public collections, with the preparatory sketches and colour tests. Together, they form a grand cabinet of curiosities that reveals how the apparent simplicity of these silk prints is all an illusion.

The Salvatore Ferragamo Silk exhibit is located at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in the Palazzo Spini Feroni, Firenze and runs from March 25th, 2021 to April 18th, 2022.


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