La Sala delle Cariatidi of the Palazzo Reale, near Milan’s Duomo, is hosting until April 1st a tribute to the designer Gianfranco Ferré.
The name for the exhibit is “La camicia bianca secondo me. Gianfranco Ferrè” With this event, Milan means to remember one of the princes of Italian fashion, eight years after his death.
The exhibit brings together 27 of the designer’s creations, together with an extensive series of preparatory sketches, photographs and items made available by the Ferré Foundation. Introducing the event is an art installation by Luca Stoppini, who projects Ferré designs on cloths and architectural structures.
The contrast between immateriality, intangibility of fabrics and a physical concrete presence of this exhibit summarizes Ferré’s fashion vision; the idea of a strict “design exercise” (this is the definition given by Ferré in his notes) that within the maximum accuracy of the structures allows for a continuous internal movement particularly rich in joy and curiosity.
For Gianfranco Ferré, a shirt is therefore the equivalent of a blank canvas, or an architectural space completely empty, where one’s imagination can build from scratch its own path.
A game of opposites whose roots are in the biography of the designer; a degree in architecture in 1969, Ferré in the 1970s, started his journey and the creation of his Maison in 1978. The trips made in this decade between Europe and Asia left a decisive conceptual imprint, which has been perfectly expressed in the selection of the clothes on display.
At the center of the Ferré clothing are memories of India and China; the architectural forms of these pieces launch into abrupt “wanderings” represented by sleeves, collars, slits, in a continual and closed dialogue between black and white with bursts of yellow, orange and cream which evoke the powerful light of Asian and African spaces and their perfumes.
The perfumes themselves are what connects Europe and Asia in the fashion conception of Ferré. The success of the Ferré brand is bound in the 1980s to the launch of men’s and women’s fragrances in addition to his period as the creative director at Christian Dior (between 1989 and 1996) where Ferré placed perfume at the center of the creative philosophy of the French Maison.
Not to be forgotten is the dialogue between Asia and Italy, which Ferré enhanced for its similarities in diversity. Since the beginning, Ferré was a careful promoter of the Italian tradition linked to costume jewelry; even as part of the ready-to-wear fashions, Ferré creations “live” on precious materials and classically oriental, but at the same time, typically Italian, like satin, taffeta, nylon, organza and silk.
The memory of the vastness of the spaces visited, the idea of an exploration at 360° of the territory surrounding us, is evoked by the net difference between the back and front of the dress, which invites you, in fact, to “turn around” as if it were a sculpture or an installation of contemporary art, but also a movement which symbolically follows the sun from east to west.