History of Italian Fashion in the City of Roses

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I love Portland. There is no denying it. And for a split section on every visit I contemplate moving.

The people are open and friendly, helpful and inclusive. A far cry from what has been dubbed the Seattle freeze. Seattle ranked in the top 10 snobbiest cities. Ok so, so did Portland. They were 6th to our 3rd.

But Portland has a far stronger support structure to the indie art scene and well the food is just ridiculous. Between Bunk House, Tacqueria Nueve and Mother’s I was nearly undone. I met incredible people along the way. I never failed to strike up conversations. I got tips on laser treatments for my scars, places to go for great independent designers, help grabbing a cab when late for dinner, honest feedback when clothes shopping and well frankly people I could easily learn to call friend.

But with all that Portland has to offer I wouldn’t leave Seattle, at least not yet. I love my city, my apartment, most days my job. Though I’d be gone in a flash if someone crowd sourced my book to travel around the world and write about all the artists I’ve met and the online community built over years of blogging. Or to take an RV across the US for a year and blog and drawn people I meet along the way. Well yeah, sure, who wouldn’t be gone!!!

So this past weekend I made my way to the City of Roses and definitely stopped long enough to smell them. I caught up with an old friend I haven’t seen in 25 years and attended the Sci-Fi film festival at OMSI. Where surprisingly, of all the films we saw over the weekend, Galaxy Quest was my favorite.

It feels like ages since I’ve been motivated to draw, or write anything. Since my last surgery I found myself on a hiatus of sorts, healing taking on a different dimension this time around. But at the steps of the art museum I could feel it building.

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Cameras weren’t permitted in the exhibit which is unfortunate. They did not offer a book of the garments to purchase or even postcards at the end. And there were a few pieces, many my favorites, that not even I can recapture without a photographic memory source. It seemed as though the guards hung at the most unfortunate spots.

But it did force me to pull out my sketchbook in order to capture a sense memory of the garments. So I suppose for this reason alone I should thank them. I ambled my way about the exhibit.

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France was not the only country boosted by its fashion industry following World War II. Italy became a leader, known for their artisanal craftsmanship and materials, a purveyor of style and taste. Attributes they hold 70 years later.

I don’t know why I find myself surprised to find so many female Italian designers. But I was. There were garments from many of my favorites: Giambattista Vali, Gucci, Valentino of course, Fendi, Pucci, Gianfranco Ferre, and Armani. But there were also pieces by Mila Schon, Simonetta, Alberto Fabiani, Roberto Capucci, Andre Laug, Trussardi and Federico Forquet who of course worked for beloved Balenciaga in the exhibit. Not to mention a glorious brooch of Elizabeth Taylors BVLGARI, a diamond tremblant floral brooch.

Now, I’m not a big sparkly jewelry girl. But standing in front of the display case I could understand why “they” say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. The sparkle was mesmerizing.

I’d be lying if I didn’t share I wanted to get my hands on many of the garments, get an up close and personal look at the technique and design. Hell, I’d like to see if there was any perfume or BO left on the War and Peace costume by Audrey Hepburn.

I wished there had been more jewelry and that I could take pictures, but I was not disappointed. The history was fascinating, the garments glorious. I also had the opportunity to talk with two sisters, the younger of whom was considering a career in fashion. It has been a while since I’ve been graced to influence the minds of young creatives. I quite enjoyed our conversations.

And finally in the end I got to flex my muscles and do a little sketching and feel my way along the braille of my creatrix passions. And for a moment found myself dancing with my muse.

If you are close by and can make it head down to Portland for the exhibit…..Well, I highly recommend you do. And for now I will simply plan my next trip to visit the roses.

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2 thoughts on “History of Italian Fashion in the City of Roses

  1. You’re back! I hope you are feeling better, and I’m so happy to hear that your muse got poked and you shared a lovely sketch. Thanks for sharing your visit to the exhibit. I too am disappointed that you couldn’t take photos. I can’t even imagine why postcards weren’t available. I often prefer those to photos since I’m not a good photographer.

    • I think it was crazy they were postcardless. And the books offered didn’t feature what was in the exhibit. The guards knew how to hover right on top of the things I wanted to photograph. Argh! Looks like we should have gone down together.

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