The V&A's glamorous new exhibition

Show on Italian fashion opens in March

The V&A is on a roll. Hot on the heels of its incredible David Bowie exhibition and its Club to Catwalk show, it's set to kickstart a year of fashion exhibitions in April with The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945–2014.

The museum’s crack team of experts has spent three years sourcing pieces from its own archive, designers’ collections and private archives to put together the show. It’s the first exhibition of its kind and will chart the transformation of the Italian fashion industry, beginning with the devastation of the Second World War through its world domination in the 1980s and 1990s until the present day. Which means that you’ll get to see pieces from the labels that are synonymous with Italian catwalks – Gucci, Versace, Emilio Pucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Missoni – alongside names that were once hugely influential but now forgotten, and today’s rising stars.

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Between the rooms focusing on couture and craftsmanship, the sporty, ready-to-wear labels that caught the attention of America, and the va-va-voom, more-is-more style that we love about Italian labels, the exhibition will also look at the influence that Hollywood stars had on the rise of Italy in the style stakes thanks to their much photographed shopping trips during film shoots. So there are pieces picked up by Audrey Hepburn in Ferragamo and three incredible pieces of jewellery made for Elizabeth Taylor by the exhibition’s sponsor, Bulgari.

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Looking forward, the curator, Sonnet Stanfill, is also keen to address what the future holds for the Italian fashion industry now that it has to compete with Chinese fast fashion and labels around the globe. The final room will screen video interviews with designers, editors and couture technicians discussing the problem, which we’ll watch with interest. But mostly we can’t wait to see the dresses.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 will run at the V&A from 5 April – 27 July 2014

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