The History of Fashion throughout the centuries
Italy is rightly considered one of the global powerhouses of fashion and is home to internationally renowned designers and Maisons.
The textile industry and artisan tradition are part of it as protagonists. Important districts for the production and processing of fabric have been created, such as in the Prato area, as a center of weaving excellence, and in the Como area, one of the production areas of the finest silk in Italy. In the Promessi Sposi novel, set in the 17th century, Alessandro Manzoni writes about spinning mills: the silk industry was already born.
In Sardinia and in the Taranto area, it is still produced today the byssus, a very precious fabric whose fiber is obtained from the “beard” of a large bivalve mollusk, the Pinna Nobilis, commonly known as Gnacchera.
Not just fabrics: fashion is also made up of accessories, objects, materials. It arrives everywhere and everything can be influenced by fashion.
Throughout Italy, there are museums that tell the story of fashion, costume and the evolution of tastes over the centuries. Here is a short and fascinating selection.
– Umbrella and Parasol Museum, because fashion has touched all clothing accessories, changing the shapes and enriching the materials. In the museum more than 1,000 pieces and a section dedicated to the umbrella maker’s profession. Open from April to September. In the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola. In Gignese>>>
– Museum of Textiles and Industry: in the factory of the former spinning department of Carlo Ottolini Cotton Mill, it hosts looms and tools for spinning, weaving and printing fabrics. In the province of Varese. In Busto Arsizio>>>
– Pipe Museum, because fashion is also for men. More than 30,000 pieces. Open upon reservation. In the province of Varese. In Gavirate>>>
– Silk Museum: to discover the processing of silk from the late 1800s to the early decades of the 1900s, from the silkworm to the final product. In Como>>>
– Mocenigo Palace: it displays various textiles, antique clothes and accessories, perfumes and a specialized library. In Venice>>>
– Shoe Museum: it hosts over 1500 luxury women’s footwear and much more from 1947 to today. Close to Venice. In Stra>>>
– Button Museum. Which dress can do without the button? Over the centuries the button was used to communicate power and social class. More than 9,000 buttons tell its history. In the province of Rimini. In Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna>>>
– Museum of Costume and Fashion in Pitti Palace: hosts a collection of 6,000 clothes telling the history of fashion over the centuries. In Florence>>>
– Salvatore Ferragamo Museum: exhibits Salvatore Ferragamo fashion shoes, a designer who contributed deeply to the enhancement and affirmation of the “Made in Italy” with shoes even created for movie stars. In Florence>>>
– Textile Museum: the largest museum in Italy dedicated to ancient and contemporary textile production. In Prato>>>
– Costume Museum: the most important Ethnographic Museum in Sardinia. In Nuoro>>>
– The Art of Copper and Textiles’ Museum: tells the art of copper and weaving of Isili, in Southern Sardinia>>>
– Byssus Museum: a very interesting museum because the byssus is a fiber obtained from the sea, from the “Pinna Nobilis” known as fan mussel. Unique in its kind. Open upon reservation only. In Southern Sardinia, on Sant’Antioco island>>>
Do you know other fashion museums? Write us to report them >>>
Are you a curious person? Discover curious or themed museums in Italy >>>
Cover photo, from top to bottom, from left to right: the Museum of Costume and Fashion in Florence, the Button Museum in Emilia Romagna, the Shoe Museum in Lombardy and the Fashion Museum in Gorizia