Style on the Tiber


Rome’s MAXXI Museum highlights Italy’s rich fashion design past with the exhibition Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion 1945-1968. During the post-war period, all aspects of Italian culture – especially cinema and fashion – were re-imagined and rebuilt as if on a clean slate after World War II. Rome was nicknamed “Hollywood on the Tiber” at the time, thanks to the scene surrounding the actors, such as Lana Turner, Ingrid Bergman and Ava Gardner, who were filming and socializing in Italy.The exhibition’s curators Maria Luisa Frisa, Stefano Tonchi and Anna Mat- tirolo, sought to connect fashion of the era to the contemporaneous artistic and cinematic innovations. Eighty outfits are presented on a long undulating platform with eight separate categories: daytime, artsy, black & white, gala evening, cocktail, cinema, space and exoticism. Alongside the clothing are elaborate jewelry, including many from main sponsor Bulgari, and fashion photography, some of which is featured above.

“Looking at the period from 1945 to 1968 means describing an intrinsically Italian atmosphere, a stylistic and productive identity, which underwent sweeping changes-from the development of high fashion right after the war to the birth or ready-to-wear fashion in the late 1960’. In those years, the relationship between art and fashion was fluid, with a constant trading of ideas between the two.” said Giovanni Melandri, president of the Fondazione Maxxi.