fashion in italy: 150 years of elegance @ la venaria reale, torino

Moda in Italia 150 Anni di EleganzaIf you have a chance to get to Torino (Turin), Italy, there are numerous excellent museums to visit, including La Venaria Reale (the Royal Palace), about 10km from the city center.  I was there recently to see the exhibition Fashion in Italy: 150 Years of Elegance, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Italy’s Unification and on display through Janaury 8, 2012.

The exhibition display is designed by architect Michele di Lucchi and used raw wooden frames and mirrors, reflecting not only the articles of clothing, but also deconstruction the “reflection” of the Italian society in a cultural and historical context.


Contessa di Castiglione
Evening gown owned by the Contessa of Castiglione (c. 1867)

Here is an excerpt from the website, where more information can be found:


“The exhibition unfolds as a long and exciting journey in history and imagination, across cinema, fiction and everyday life, with a display of the original creations that belonged to historical figures who set the taste of an era (like Gabriele D’Annunzio and Italy’s Queens, Eleonora Duse and Lisa Cavalieri), but also famous stage attires like the dazzling creations by Piero Tosi for the genius of Luchino Visconti (the white ball gown worn by Angelica in The Leopard, played by Claudia Cardinale, the dress worn by Livia Serpieri, played by Alida Valli, in the drama Senso, and the outfits made famous by Silvana Mangano in Death in Venice); the famous and controversial pretino dress designed by Sorelle Fontana for Ava Gardner and reinterpreted by Piero Gherardi for Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita; the shoes by Ferragamo designed for Marilyn Monroe.

Il Gattopardo
Ball gown made by Piero Tosi for Claudia Cardinale who played Angelica in Visconti's 1963 film, "The Leopard"

The display revolves around the fashion creations of the historical Fondazione Tirelli Trappetti in Rome and includes loans from leading museums and the creations of world-famous contemporary Italian fashion designers.

The display – around 200 dresses – tells the story of fashion in Italy from 1861 to this day, as “Italian style” proper took form in the aftermath of the Second World War as a product of ancient artisan tradition and modern industrial production. Before that time, under the Kingdom, the national taste had taken tentative steps towards the definition of a national fashion identity but it still looked to Paris under Napoleon III’s Second Empire and Eugénie for inspiration and guidance.

Significantly, the fashion center of Italy at the time was Turin, the natural gate to France. For twenty years under Fascism a strong push towards emancipation from French influence led to mixed results, with nationalist aspirations clashing against the cosmopolitan essence of fashion. It was with the Republic that Italian fashion finally flourished: the fashion shows organised in Florence by the Marquis Giovanni Battista Giorgini, starting in 1951, paved the way for a growing success that continued in Rome, in perfect synergy with the world of Cinema of the Sixties, and then moved to Milan, the creative home of Made in Italy and the undisputed capital of Italian fashion from the Seventies on.

For these reasons the display presents an overview spanning 150 years of the history of fashion organised in two macro-sections extending over two floors, also inaugurating the new spaces of the Rooms of the Arts in the Reggia, and corresponding to two different phases of fashion in Italy.”

La Venaria Reale
La Venaria Reale, Torino

MODA IN ITALIA: 150 Anni di Eleganza
Through January 8, 2011 


  • Full ticket: 12.00 euros
  • Discounted ticket: 8,00 euros (over 65, under 18 and disabled visitors)
  • Discounted ticket for groups: 8.00 euros (min. 12 people)
  • Discounted ticket for schools: 5.00 euros (min. 15 students and 1 teacher)


Venaria is located approximately 10 km from the centre of Turin and it can be reached:

  • By GTT “Venaria Express” shuttle bus
  • By bus: GTT lines 72, 11
  • By train: GTT line Torino Dora – Ceres (Venaria, viale Roma stop)
    GTT toll free number: +39 800 019152-
  • By car: Torino – Nord ring road, Venaria exit (La Venaria Reale – Reggia e Giardini) or Savonera / Venaria (La Venaria Reale – Scuderie Juvarriane)

2 thoughts on “fashion in italy: 150 years of elegance @ la venaria reale, torino

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